Working against the backdrop of a traditional farm in the Belgian region of Hesbaye is directly reflected in the work of Hans Lemmen: there are recognisable elements from his environment, which are turned into recurrent representations, taking on significant content in his drawings, such as the farm itself and the nearby electricity pylons. Lemmen’s drawings have a poetic and humorous component, along with the ability to put things into perspective. Some of them express threat, loneliness and friendship.
Hans Lemmen sees human beings as “a walking paradox”. This vision is rooted in the fact that humans are governed by reason and instincts at the same time. He is fascinated by the fact that a substantial portion of humanity still obeys a mythical world, in spite of their rational capacities. Archaeology is a field that interests him in his battle to penetrate the animal nature of humans and find its origins, leading him to collaborate regularly with archaeologists on artistic projects, which are also exhibited in archaeological and anthropological museums.
He developed his drawing technique together with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam: the paper he uses is treated with manganese oxide to create an ochre pigmentation. This process yields very different results on each sheet of paper. Subsequently, both sides of the paper are treated alternately with a casein solution, a glue made from milk. The ink he uses to draw remains suspended between the layers of casein, and it can be made more liquid in a subsequent stage of the drawing. As a result, the paper looks like parchment, and the lines are picked out with an egg white sheen.