Stiftung Insel Hombroich (Insel Hombroich Foundation)
Partner Institution of the Blickachsen 13 exhibition
“In ancient parks, particularly in English landscaped gardens, there has always been a tendency to create focal points in the harmoniously designed landscape: points of concentration, opening a view or even suggesting intimacy. At these points one could pursue one’s need for peace, openness, concentration and contemplation. All these needs are reflected in such parks, and Hombroich, also, has an element of this.”
These thoughts from 1989 by the sculptor Erwin Heerich (1922-2004) beautifully trace an arc from the Museum Insel Hombroich to Blickachsen, even if the artistic contributions, the “focal points,” are to be discovered in entirely different contexts. While the placing of sculptures in the Bad Homburg Biennale creates individual sculptural moments which temporarily redefine their site, charging it with new relationships of content within a precisely composed park landscape, founder Karl-Heinrich Müller (1936-2007) developed his vision for Insel Hombroich as an artistic exercise from the start: in the midst of an intensely farmed agrarian landscape on the edge of the extensive lignite opencast mines on the Lower Rhine, a natural space of over 60 hectares was harmoniously developed, structured by Heerich’s walk-in sculptures so characteristic of Hombroich. These are frequently used not only as exhibition spaces for the unique collection of twentieth century art that Müller has assembled over the years (including works by Kurt Schwitters, Jean Arp, Yves Klein, Lovis Corinth, Jean Fautrier and many others), but also for works by Rembrandt and Cézanne, as well as a large number of archaeological pieces of East Asian art and from Africa, Oceania and America. In this way, for Heerich, the “autonomy of the artistic” is embedded in “the autonomy of the landscape and the natural”.
In a time in which artistic practice constantly has to reposition itself between postcolonial discourse and identity politics, between climate protection and racism, between questions of gender and class, the issue of the autonomy of art takes on a new relevance. It is a question of the inner structure of the artwork, its shaping and finding of form, a question of ambivalence, ambiguity and openness to the growing plurality of society.
I was delighted to accept Christian Scheffel’s invitation to join him for the selection of artists for the Blickachsen 13 exhibition, and would like to thank him cordially for the confidence he has shown in us as this year’s partner museum. It is a special pleasure that almost 20 years after his death, Erwin Heerich, whom I quoted in my opening remarks, is represented with a sculptural contribution from his estate, underlining our partnership. As anchor point, his sculpture throws a bridge from Hombroich to Bad Homburg, where Blickachsen 2023, following a compulsory break forced by the pandemic, takes up its journey into an exciting, because diverse, unknown and at times mysterious present. As anchored in the founding principles of Hombroich, there should be no filter between the artwork and its public, no immediate mediation. It is not explaining that stands at the heart of this exhibition, but looking, directly experiencing, having one’s own thoughts, associations and references. Submit, and for one summer experience Bad Homburg as an unknown territory full of surprises and new perspectives.
Managing Director of the Insel Hombroich Foundation
Stiftung Insel Hombroich
(Insel Hombroich Foundation)
Raketenstation Hombroich 4
Museum Insel Hombroich