Concrete Beauty

Museum Insel Hombroich & Langen Foundation

At the start of the summer, I finally visited the Museum Insel Hombroich and Langen Foundation close to Düsseldorf, Germany. Insel Hombroich is a fascinating combination of a park, landscape art and a museum collection. The park, with a nice balance between human interaction and natural habitat, features ten relatively small buildings where artworks are presented. In addition to East Asian art and a storehouse of archaeological artefacts, the 20th Century works vary from lesser-known German artists to Hans Arp, Kurt Schwitters, Alexander Calder and Yves Klein.



As you walk through the park, from building to building (often constructed as walk-through), you become curious what might be on display in the next building. At the same time, on the way in-between these houses, you find yourself in different natural environments, forest-like parts to crossing a river on a small wooden bridge or open meadows. These small walks create a nice flow of observing, reflecting and anticipating both art and nature.

There is even more. At walking distance from Insel Hombroich, you’ll find the Langen Foundation, another private museum. A building out of concrete, steel and glass by the hand of the Japanese architect Tadao Ando was constructed to display parts of another private collection. It is situated on a former NATO base, a so-called ‘Raketenstation’ (a missile base from the Cold War) of which some elements are still visible in the part surrounding the Langen Foundation. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions and also displays part of the Langen-family’s private collection. But the most surprising artwork is the building itself, on one side surrounded by water, on the other side by grass; one part with a glass outside taking its place in the environment, another part of concrete delved into the ground – a bunker for art, but one with light enlightening the spaces. It feels like a building you can breathe in, but not touch; a building that forms both a recluse from the outside world and at the same time clearly relates to it.

It is an inspiring place, and I’ll post some more more pictures in the weeks to come.





      1. I was especially fascinated by the five decollages (Raymond Hains, i suppose) hanging in the first room (coming from the park’s entrance) of the “Labyrinth” building. I love that kind of random structures and textures.

      2. Yes I was there and saw the Richard Deacon exhibition. I especially liked some of his ceramics sculptures.

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