For nearly three decades, the Düsseldorf-based artist Ulrich Hensel has been working on his photographic oeuvre with vehement stringency, focusing predominantly on one motif: construction sites. These are places where technical, economic, and not least of all cultural activities culminate and which speak in dense descriptions of the sociology of the materials of the world. The photographed construction sites may appear as though they have been found by chance, but they have actually been carefully selected during lengthy research tours through urban landscapes. On the one hand, the photographs are very concrete, but on the other hand they are often almost abstract, at times even minimalist: Grids, dots, mounting devices, iron lattices—everything spreads out strictly over the picture surface and gives it rhythm. The photographs are focused “construction-scapes” which, in the much-cited age of the Anthropocene, pay testimony to human activities in a highly condensed manner. In addition to a fascination with the “crime scene” of the construction site, however, the locations depicted are basically also a pretext for Hensel to be able to work painterly in and with his photographs—as demonstrated by the often-extensive color fields of the most diverse building materials. Ulrich Hensel’s works represent a unique position in the photo art scene.
With the exhibition Ulrich Hensel. In-Between Worlds, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg presents a first museum overview of this special photographic work. A publication is available (Hatje Cantz, German/English, 120 pages, 29 euros in the museum shop).