Andrea Büttner, Moss, 2010–14, digital image from a series of photographs, dimensions variable

Andrea Büttner. 2

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.