2 – the title is the agenda. The largest room in the museum is divided into two parts, one light and the other dark. In the dark space Andrea Büttner is showing her latest video installation, Piano Destructions* 2014. Featured here is historical footage of performances in which artists — almost exlusively men — destroy pianos; as well as a performance of her own, in which nine female pianists play pieces by Schumann and Chopin in chorus.
Two forms of interacting with the piano are juxtaposed. This confrontation allows for renewed reflection on gender issues, on the function of the piano as an instrument in the upbringing of young, bourgeois girls, on performance art and the piano as its classical prop — manipulated and maltreated in every way imaginable. For a woodcut, Büttner herself disassembled a piano, using its parts as printing blocks. This generated an abstract image made up of monochrome color fields that now merely hints at the destruction of the piano to which it owes its existence.
But 2 can also stand for judging in general, which oscillates between two poles—beautiful and ugly, cool and embarrassing, important and insignificant. Displayed in the center of the illuminated section of the exhibition is Kant’s Critique of Judgment, which aims at linking "two aspects of philosophy," namely, theory and practice, "into a totality." Here, Büttner has chosen an unusual approach. She considers the ways in which specific images correspond to Kant’s abstract text: the images he may have had in mind while writing, and those that are envisaged while reading. Through dozens of images — both historical and contemporary — she makes it possible to perceive Kant’s concepts through the senses. In large offset-prints, Büttner assembles "Kant’s pictures" and confronts them with her woodcuts and glas works in the exhibition.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Felix Meiner Verlag is publishing an edition of Kant’s Critique of Judgement, illustrated by Andrea Büttner.
Andrea Büttner (b. 1972 in Stuttgart) has had solo exhibitions at the Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe) in 2007, the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 2011, and at the MMK Zollamt (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt am Main in 2013. She showed her work, Little Sisters. Luna Park, at the dOCUMENTA (13). She lives in Frankfurt and in London.
On the opening night of the exhibition, the Museum Ludwig will be screening Büttner’s complete video works in the auditorium.
Curator: Julia Friedrich
* Piano Destructions is a Walter Phillips Gallery and Banff Centre commission.