When Hans Vandekerckhove makes a decisive discovery in 1997 of the garden of the then deceased British film director, Derek Jarman, at Dungeness (UK), the breeding ground is laid for further personal and metaphysical explorations through the English countryside, which he continues to explore as a source of inspiration.
For the recent series of works, Do Trees Have Dreams, Hans left his warm cocoon where he, as a collector of images, went on a hike in search of new impressions to convert into a story again. Not in words, like the philosopher Nietzsche did after similar hikes in Sils Maria, but with paint on canvas. Here it is not the man but the tree that plays the leading role. Where previously the greenhouse and architecture offered protection for humans it is the landscape that transcends the personal, the individual and speaks for itself. But the human remains omnipresent and leaves its traces. The artist leaves voluntarily the earlier performed Garden of The Present, a paradise where shelter was provided, and doesn’t omit to mention contemporary social, political and environmental themes.
A visit to a garden, where Virginia Woolf lingered in the company of the Bloomsbury group, is the starting point for the exhibition. The exhibition is so built that on the ground floor one is first confronted with the rather cold and eerie traces of human intervention in the landscape as seen in the work Shardgard and Atomic Garden. On the second floor of the gallery, you can see landscapes stretching out on long roads towards the horizon where green oases allow the viewer to come to breath and loiter through The Valley and Ancient Road to Virginia's Tree.
The walk, like a slow and meditative movement, continues in the way Hans Vandekerckhove approaches his canvases. He works very slowly and transposes the images he took from the outside world in a peaceful and serene rhythm over into colour and line.The stylistic approach and the casting into form of reflections and stories are striking. By his idiosyncratic use of colour and the focus on objects he creates a dreamlike vision.