Concrete is the foundation for this solo exhibition by Ruth Hommelsheim. Her practice explores monumental brutalist buildings, whose architectural details she reappropriates through a process of painting over, thereby creating a sense of estrangement. The seemingly familiar becomes abstracted and timeless, yet is remodelled – and this evokes associations by attempting to categorise what we see across space and time. The exhibition title also reflects this oscillation, by employing ‘concrete’ as both a noun and an adjective.
Ruth Hommelsheim photographed all of the exhibition’s images whilst travelling around Germany and abroad, and then partially painted over the prints in white. The omissions and flaws that form through the dissociation of buildings and fragments from their original context render the concrete, inconcrete. The viewer is invited to gain their own impression and call environment, origin and relationship into question.
Alongside the motifs that make up the individual works in concrete doubt is the implicit interplay between each one. What Hommelsheim achieves through her relational installation, is the multifaceted connection between photography, painting-over and truth – and the doubt, which remains in revealing the concrete.
Ruth Hommelsheim's fascination with the material becomes apparent if viewers immerse themselves in the concrete’s raw nature. Each image illustrates the material’s varied qualities, structural characteristics, grey tones and colourations. Out of context, we can also encounter fragments, which are not necessarily architectural in nature. These freestanding elements are akin to theatrical props, which act to transport us into a world of unfamiliar obscurities.