Kulturværftet, Helsingør, Denmark
Han is a mirror. Reflected in the highly polished stainless steel he’s made from, you see Helsingør’s castle and its shipyard. And you see yourself. He’s also a mirror image of the famous Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen. Both Han and the Little Mermaid sit naked and in the same position, gazing out across the same expanse of water with the same sadness. But a mirror image isn’t a replica. It’s a reversal. Han, which is the Danish word for ‘him’, is a young man, the Little Mermaid a woman. But Han the mirror also reflects the Helsingør shipyard in which he sits. His slender form, his feminine pose the reversal, the opposite of the strapping, rugged men that once worked there as sailors, solderers, welders and labourers. He was commissioned in 2012 by Helsingør City and the Arts Council of Denmark. And perhaps he was meant to be more than just beautiful – perhaps he was meant make us think, make us reinterpret the things he mirrors. But Han is perhaps most striking in his loneliness. Because here he sits by himself, isolated and cut off forever by a distance of 30km from his sister, the Little Mermaid, in Copenhagen. If Han is a mirror, is the thing he’s reflecting your own fear of ending up the same?