Beneath the surface

Franka Hörnschemeyer

Industrial construction materials like plasterboard and metal supports are the materials that Franka Hörnschemeyer works with. The teacher at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf uses standardized mass-produced products to fashion walk-through labyrinths that challenge you to change your perspective.

Probably Franka Hörnschemeyer‘s best-known work stands in the atrium of the Paul Löbe Haus, an office building at the German Federal Parliament. “BFD – bündig fluchtend dicht” is made of red and yellow iron grids like the ones used for pouring concrete walls. Interlocking, they form a walk-through labyrinth that you can see through, inviting visitors to experience the space differently every time. Born in Osnabrück, Franka Hörnschemeyer works in Berlin and teaches at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf. She uses completely normal construction materials – new and used – for her installations. All construction materials contain social information, revealing something about the society that uses it, says Hörnschemeyer: “Most people only see the surface but I am interested in what lies beneath: Where does the material come from, what does it consist of, what is its history and what are the social aspects?” Franka Hörnschemeyer often works with plasterboard – the construction material of our mobile, flexible lifestyle: It is standardized and cheap and spaces can be built and taken down quickly. “Like people and the city – material also seems to be continuous motion”, says Hörnschemeyer. Architectural benchmarks like spatial effect, harmonious proportions and beauty lose their importance in deference to functionality. But Hörnschemeyer‘s room sculptures turn space into an experience again. The artist breaks up Rigips panels, punches them, makes them into new shapes, inserts them into stud frames or arranges them on the floor. The space and the building around the sculpture is always part of the work. Perspective and focus and therefore the space and the work change constantly as you walk through. “I am fascinated by indeterminacy. There is no objective perception, only subjective, individual experience”, says Franka Hörnschemeyer.

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Picture Credits: © Katrin Eissing