Hildebrand is particularly interested in manmade objects and human interventions in the landscape and surroundings. The built environment therefore always plays an important role in his work. His focus is not on the spectacular, but on the everyday, which is often overlooked in its banality, even though it is so characteristic. Hildebrand’s work usually deals with public places and urban or suburban spaces where people live, work, carry out their daily lives, or spend their free time. What these places and spaces look like is the result of collective and individual decisions. People shape their environment, but they are also shaped by it. While taking a close look at the built environment, urban structures, architecture and its relationship to nature, one can gain a lot of information about people and societies, even without studying humans themselves. For Hildebrand, photography is the perfect tool for making this information visible.
Although documentation is not his main concern, Hildebrand does not stage his photographs. He works with what he finds. As he explains: ‘The reason is that images which are not staged are rooted in the reality of the photographer. For me, the challenge is to use my perception of reality to create images that go beyond it.’ Hildebrand’s work often shows structures and constellations of things or people in space. For him, objects and motifs are always material for the composition of his artworks. It is important to him that his works function as images, i.e. that they appeal to the viewer in some way, even if they are detached from concept, content, and context. His aim is not to evoke a clearly defined reaction from viewers or push them in a particular direction. He wants to leave ample room for imagination and interpretation. Nothing else applies to his latest works Before meeting myself in the presence of a shopping cart and Meeting myself in presence of a shopping cart, created specially for the 59th Venice Biennale, even if this is the first time he directly addresses himself and his experiences. What we see is an unstaged mirage that the artist has encountered in a dream like situation. Although this work represents a reality, it is magical in a peculiar way: as a perception of the poetic, the surreal, and even the uncanny in what is banal.