"Thus, in every culture, between the use of what one might call the ordering codes and reflection upon order itself, there is the pure experience of order and of its modes of being." Michel Foucault, The Order of Things
A collection of records, mixed with audiotapes; a cupboard, carefully arranged with CDs; colourful document folders, assembled over many years; shelves in double rows, filled with video-cassettes; a cupboard filled with CDs, its doors fixed with tape cassette-holders; countless photographs of fish...
In her work Bewahrungen (Perpetuations), Ruth Hommelsheim transfers the unremarkable things of a private, everyday archive to a deliberately withdrawn level of subtle contemplation, observation. The concern here is always the presence of spaces of remembrance and their unconscious perception.
One wanders through the serial stratifications of an inverse museum: the collection, made non-public, servesa as the assurance of existence. Knowledge – as order – attaches itself to being. In dialogue with the absentee (the collector) the question deepens: to what extent are seriality and individuality, order and being ordered, directly connected with personal expression and individual freedom?
Thus, Ruth Hommelsheim‘s works plunge into the filigreed multilayeredness of life, to illuminate, seismographically, the movements behind the order of things. Her image-worlds offer a glimpse behind what appears to us as self-explanatory, opening the question of the coordinate systems of subjective lives.
The collections are directly connected to the artist: originally belonging to her father, they were the iconographic companions to her youth. The photographic medium allows a double movement to appear: from near and far in the field of tension between the I and the other, these images send back even-handed reports. The autobiographical moment is sharply depicted in the aspect of transformation: past presents itself as future potential.
These collections – of folders, audiocassettes and CDs – have something in common: their lack of motive. It is precisely this limitedness Ruth Hommelsheim heightens in her works, in order to allow the beholder to glimpse the core of memory: the elapse of time. What is brought to light is what this work breaks open: a field of knowledge comes to life and becomes visible. Beyond their rational value or their objective forms, cognitions carve out their positions, and thus manifest their history. (Christopher Dell)