Schmuck-Eremit ( the age of Larloi )

an outdoor sculpture for the group show “New Art in Old Gardens” in the gardens of the Rittergut in Lenthe, Hanover, 2008


Sanctuaries with breathing space and tranquility are very precious and hard to find. Even monasteries have waiting lists, offer full board, and put their homepages online. In the garden of the Upper Estate at Lenthe, which in itself provides a type of refuge with its comely terrain and centuriesold trees, we encounter Andreas Gehlen’s wood object “Deco Hermit.”

In its metaphoricity, Gehlen’s very multi-layered installation in the truest sense of the world deals with our longings for retreat or withdrawal. Our visual navigation system attempts to locate what is hidden behind the site: is it a raft left high and dry or playground under the chestnut tree for children? Does it recall the model of a festival stage on which dramas are performed in subtle ruinous sets? Upper stage, lateral sets, openwork partitions; everything would be there.The path leads downwards via stairs to the basement.The “deco hermit” himself is nowhere to be seen. But a tiny door, like one leading to a hiding place, is slightly ajar and draws our attention from the darkness to the light. Perhaps our hermit is already there, where one no longer requires visibility and applause, and encouragement can be also dispensed with.

In case the story ends in this way, then Gehlen’s curious ark has found dry land again and reached its stored destination.

Thea Herold

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