Photo: Naomi van Heck

New on the street: sculpture group 'Armour' by Hans van der Ham

The sculpture group Armor by visual artist Hans van der Ham will have a permanent place on Mathenesserlaan. The initiative came from residents who wanted to turn the sidewalk between Breitnerstraat and café Ari into a green place to stay. One of the residents asked the employees of BKOR whether an existing artwork was available. A match nearby was quickly made. Together with Hans van der Ham, BKOR was looking for a location for one of his works of art. The Mathenesserlaan forms a wonderful link in a walk along the Rotterdam art collection in the neighborhood towards the Museum Park.

Love at first sight

Residents visited the artist's studio in Drievriendenstraat to view the bronze sculptural casings of a figure with a dog. It was love at first sight. The collaboration with BKOR and the municipality of Rotterdam was further developed. This initiative has given the district a special work of art.


Op Friday, July 8 at 16 p.m the artwork will be festively unveiled by the alderman for Culture, Said Kasmi, together with the residents. Hans van der Ham gives a short explanation of his work and talks with Marjolijn van der Meijden (project leader BKOR).

'After living and working for approximately 30 years as a visual artist in Rotterdam, I am delighted to see an image from an important period of my career immortalized in a place that is very dear to me.'
– Hans van der Ham

Photos by Naomi van Heck

green city

The project on Mathenesserlaan is part of making the city greener. A stony sidewalk becomes a green place to stay. At the initiative of the residents' group Breitnerstraat/Mathenesserlaan and Aktiegroep Oude Westen, a plan was developed and implemented in collaboration with the Tussentuin foundation and the municipality of Rotterdam. Hans van der Ham determined the location for the sculptures together with the landscape designers. Placement of images by Binder Art Services bv.

More about the artist's work

The images on the Mathenesserlaan with the title Armor were part of an earlier period in Hans van der Ham's career. An 'armour' can be translated as armor or armour. His figures' outfits are visibly empty. They're just shells, outsides. Archetypal story figures play an important role in the creation of his work. Van der Ham is influenced by the Comedy del arte from 16th and 17th century Italy, a form of street drama with fixed characters.

'Different ethnic peoples have a visual culture that is based on the real inspiration of dead matter. In these cultures there is no question of a fairytale metaphor, as with Pinocchio, but it is about harsh reality. The shaped figures ARE the inspiration of the person or deity they portray and not the symbolic representation of it that is customary in our culture.'

“And then there's the story about the golem. This man-made figure from ancient Judaism (and later adapted in a different form in a novel by Gustav Meyrink) was made of clay and resembled man in everything, with oneone difference: the lack of the soul, with all the dramatic consequences of thatn. In this age of biotechnological developments, my images want to remind us of old stories that could now become reality in an almost alchemical way.'
– Hans van der Ham

Source: Kunstbeeld June 2007

About the artist

Hans van der Ham (1960) studied classical piano at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and the Utrecht Conservatory. He then studied autonomous art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam where he graduated with paintings, drawings and graphics. Van der Ham was mainly active as a sculptor for over 30 years. But his indefinable worlds on paper, made of gouache or black ink, also characterize his oeuvre. In 2020 the need arose from the spatial work to return to its old metier in the form of paintings in different formats.

Van der Ham has been working as an independent visual artist in Rotterdam since 1989 and regularly has exhibitions at home and abroad. His work was represented by Galerie Nouvelles Images in The Hague until its closure in 2018. His work is included in various museum and corporate collections. In 2012, Van der Ham founded together with a Rotterdam patron Garage Rotterdam where he was responsible as curator and artistic director until 2015. Van der Ham regularly makes exhibitions, including ANIMA MUNDI (2018) for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.



Publication date: 30 / 06 / 2022