Hans Hemmert’s yellow blobs & life-sized balloon tank

Hans-Hemmert-–-German-Panther-2007-balloons-air-glue-960-x-370-x-300cm-Staedtische-Galerie-Nordhorn
Hans Hemmert – German Panther, 2007, balloons, air, glue, 960 x 370 x 300cm, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn

Introduction

There are more than enough art pieces by Hans Hemmert (b. 1960) floating about the world in private collections, as well as in museums and galleries. Most notable for his installations with balloon sculptures, his work has been exhibited in highly respectable museums such as the MoMA in New York and the Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Hans Hemmert - Untitled, 1998, latex balloon, air, 900 x 550 x 650 cm, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Spain
Hans Hemmert – without title, 1998, balloons, air, glue, 900 x 550 x 650cm, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Spain
Hans Hemmert - Emergency, 1999, 450x450x550cm
Hans Hemmert – Emergency, 1999, latex balloons, air, furniture, books, 450 x 450 x 550 cm, Galerie cent8, Paris

About Hans Hemmert

Hans Hemmert was raised in the Bavarian countryside. As a child, he was always fascinated by the idea of working with his hands, but it was not until he joined Philosophy school in 1981 that he realized that his calling was in art.

Hans Hemmert working on a balloon sculpture in his Berlin studio in 1998
Hans Hemmert working on a balloon sculpture in his Berlin studio in 1998

Therefore, he joined the Akademie der Künste to study sculpture before moving on to the prestigious St. Martin’s School in London, which is still today a highly sought-after school for anyone that intends to specialize in contemporary Anglo-Saxon sculpture designs.

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Early influences

Hans was influenced heavily by English sculpture throughout his studies in his hometown and London. He studied under Anthony Caro, a popular steel sculpture artist during the sixties in England. Caro also worked closely with the legendary Henry Moore.

Hans Hemmert – o.T. (Yellow sculpture fitting to beer crate), 1998, balloon, air, artist, beer crate
Hans Hemmert – o.T. (Yellow sculpture fitting to beer crate), 1998, balloon, air, artist, beer crate
Hans Hemmert - o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Fotoapparat), 1998, Latexballon: Luft: Künstler:Fotoapparat, Cibachrom 100x75cm
Hans Hemmert – o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Fotoapparat), 1998, latex, air, photo camera

Why Hemmert decided to use balloons

He would only work with steel but soon switched materials to air because steel was expensive and the heavyweights would often hurt him in the process of creation. His first projects with air consisted of artwork made with inflatable objects such as rubber pool items and many children’s toys.

Hans Hemmert – o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Julie), 1998, latex balloon, air
Hans Hemmert – o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Julie), 1998, latex balloon, air

The first balloon works

Quickly afterward, Hans decided to create these objects himself instead of relying on ready-made items. His portfolio quickly became made up of videos of almost 10-minute-long performances, as well as photographs of his larger than life balloon structures.

Hans Hemmert - o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Leiter), 1998, Latexballon: Luft: Künstler: Leiter, Cibachrom 100x75cm
Hans Hemmert – o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Leiter), 1998, latex balloon, air, ladder

Today, Hans creates his own balloons, having researched unique development techniques in his studio. Most balloons are made using latex materials sourced from England- the larger ones can take as long as three weeks to produce.

Hans Hemmert - Saturday afternoon, at home in Neukölln, 1995, latex balloon, air, artist
Hans Hemmert – Saturday afternoon, at home in Neukölln, 1995, latex balloon, air, artist

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The first balloon exhibition

His first balloon exhibition took place at the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in 1995. He utilized an enormous yellow balloon as a sculpture that filled the entire room up to the ceiling. Over the years, Hans has created hundreds of balloon works.

Hans Hemmert - o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Vespa), 1998, Latexballon: Luft: Künstler: Vespa, Cibachrom 100x75cm
Hans Hemmert – o.T. (gelbe Skulptur passend zu Vespa), 1998, latex balloon, air, vespa

Some of the structures are standalone, but he often appears inside others. His balloon installations are also usually adapted to suit the architecture of the exhibition space. As such, it is not unusual to find one of his balloons stuffed and packed in small, unusual spaces such as under a bridge.

Hans Hemmert - Die Story über den Freund vom Sohn der deutschen Synchronstimme von Robert de Niro, 1995, latex air balloon, 500 x 600 x 700 cm, part of the exhibition Urbane Legenden – Berlin, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
Hans Hemmert – Die Story über den Freund vom Sohn der deutschen Synchronstimme von Robert de Niro, 1995, latex air balloon, 500 x 600 x 700 cm, part of the exhibition Urbane Legenden – Berlin, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
Hans Hemmert - Unterwegs (On the Road), 1996, balloon, air, artist, car
Hans Hemmert – Unterwegs (On the Road), 1996, balloon, air, artist, car

German Panther, 2007

One of his most well-known works is the German Panther, 2007, a tank made entirely out of balloons.

Hans-Hemmert-–-German-Panther-2007-balloons-air-glue-960-x-370-x-300cm-Staedtische-Galerie-Nordhorn-1
Hans Hemmert – German Panther, 2007, balloons, air, glue, 960 x 370 x 300cm, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn
Hans Hemmert - German Panther, 2007, Air, Glue, Balloon, 960x370x300cm
Hans Hemmert – German Panther, 2007, balloons, air, glue, 960 x 370 x 300cm, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn
Hans-Hemmert-–-German-Panther-2007-balloons-air-glue-960-x-370-x-300cm-Staedtische-Galerie-Nordhorn-after-three-weeks
Hans Hemmert – German Panther, 2007, balloons, air, glue, 960 x 370 x 300cm, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, after three weeks
Hans-Hemmert-–-German-Panther-2007-balloons-air-glue-960-x-370-x-300cm-Staedtische-Galerie-Nordhorn-after-six-weeksFinnisage
Hans Hemmert – German Panther, 2007, balloons, air, glue, 960 x 370 x 300cm, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, after six weeks/Finnisage
Hans-Hemmert-–-German-Panther-2007-balloons-air-glue-960-x-370-x-300cm-Staedtische-Galerie-Nordhorn-after-six-weeksFinnisage
Hans Hemmert – German Panther, 2007, balloons, air, glue, 960 x 370 x 300cm, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, after six weeks/Finnisage
Hans-Hemmert-–-German-Panther-2007-balloons-air-glue-960-x-370-x-300cm-Staedtische-Galerie-Nordhorn-after-six-weeksFinnisage
Hans Hemmert – German Panther, 2007, balloons, air, glue, 960 x 370 x 300cm, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, after six weeks/Finnisage

All images by Hans Hemmert unless otherwise noted.

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