open Fri–Sun, 12–24h
Art is our first language. Throughout the year, Het HEM presents a range of temporary art programmes as well as more permanent art installations.
Simon(e) van Saarloos
“We must bring about the end of the world as we know it.”
There is always music to listen to at Het HEM, with programmes focused on experimental ways to create, present and experience music in the building through listening sessions, live shows, and musical artis-in-residence initiatives.
Come by for a drink and a bite, wine and dine at our restaurant, or settle down on our sunny terrace on the Costa del Zaano.
Het HEM loves books. During your visit, come lose yourself in the library's rich selection or discover new favourites in the SANZ Shop.
Situated in a former munitions factory, Het HEM is a new home for contemporary culture.
The building's industrial design and our experimental art programme bring ambience and meaning to every event.
What a Piece of Work is Man is a location-specific installation by Patricia Kaersenhout in the shooting range of Het HEM. The artwork makes the explosiveness of the Dutch colonial past palpable, emphasizing how important it is to give space to different perspectives on a shared history.
In recent years we have seen statues of generals and army commanders around the world literally being pulled from their plinths because a large group of people cannot agree with what these historical figures represent. History is a reflection of who we are as a society and therefore constantly changing. Whoever was once seen as a hero can suddenly be a murderer when other perspectives are taken into account. But how do we rewrite history so that there is room for duality, conflicting viewpoints and experiences?
In the video installation What a Piece of Work is Man, Kaersenhout distances herself from the cult of personality of army commanders responsible for the violent suppression of rebellions in the former colonies of Suriname and the former Dutch East Indies by shattering their busts. At the same time, it also offers us an alternative: the protective and sheltering strength of nature, which can absorb the blows of this explosive terrain.
With her work, artist Patricia Kaersenhout (Den Helder, 1966) creates awareness for historical perspectives that have long been ignored. Specifically, she explores the African diaspora, the history of slavery and colonial oppression, and the role of women in challenging inequality and generating development. History is written by dominant voices in society, therefor not everyone sees themselves or their ancestors represented. Kaersenhout shows us the discomfort of the flipsides of Dutch history to generate space for other voices.
Patricia Kaersenhout exhibits her work in museums, art institutions, and cultural platforms around the world, including most recently the Stedelijk Museum (2021), Centraal Museum (2021 and 2019), Manifesta 12 in Palermo (2018), Prospect 4 New Orleans Biennale (2017 ) and Dak'art Biennale Senegal (2014). In 2021, her iconic work Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner Too (2017-2019), previously shown at WOW (2017) and De Appel (2019), was jointly purchased by the Frans Hals museum, Van Abbemuseum, the Centraal Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, thus sealing the work's place in the artistic canon. Her latest work What a Piece of Work is Man was made possible with a contribution from the Mondriaan Fund in the context of the contemporary use of crafts.