With Antje Schiffers (*1967) and Thomas Ganzenmüller (*1966) the Kunstverein Hannover is presenting the two recipients of the 2002 Award of the Kunstverein in a double exhibition which includes all its available spaces. In what is for each of them the first comprehensive solo exhibition in an institution whose exhibits receive attention beyond the regional level, the two artists are essentially presenting the fruits of their two years‘ residence in the studio house of the Kunstverein Hannover, Villa Minimo.
The “peripatetic painter” Antje Schiffers, who offers pictures in return for food and lodging, and the ironical statistician in the sheep’s clothing of art, Thomas Ganzenmüller, develop a complex dynamism which is ever on the move through the exhibition and which brings various expansions to our concept of art. In a dextrous act of camouflage, Schiffers und Ganzenmüller make use of highly diverse scientific disciplines in order to pursue the traces of daily life in its overlappings and sullyings through art.
Antje Schiffers embarks upon journeys which have little to do with the longing, so widespread in our time, for distant places and recreation, for an easily consumable foreign flair that is immediately available to the tourist. During Schiffers‘ trips to Mexico and Italy or in her current project in the Eastern European states adjacent to the EU, the picture becomes a work performed upon commission, and artistic activity is transformed into an item of commercial exchange. The duration of each individual stay depends upon the time that is necessary to deliver a picture in the category “appropriately good” – as a rule, four to five days. Antje Schiffers’ impulse towards sociological investigation is always accompanied by a romantic delight in adventure, so that the defining limits imperceptibly become porous, and the viewer is constantly exposed to the danger of becoming lost between biography and science, between research and adventure.
Thomas Ganzenmüllers field of scientific investigation is statistics, and his striving is a struggle against the workings of chance. With painstaking attention to detail, the world in all its protean chaos is fitted out with a system of coordinates which gradually imposes a networked interconnection upon that which seems to retreat before just such a systemization. Thus the graphical tissue of the airplane flights of a French soccer team conjoins into the logo of its sponsor, or the systematic investigation into the dates of death of American G.I.‘s and German Wehrmacht soldiers generates beautifully formed ellipses which reveal astounding relationships between their dates of birth and death.
More than the specific outcomes, it is always the questions which in this context are so compelling by virtue of their surprising perspective and their awareness of the tragicomedy inherent to daily life. Behind the facade of scientific sobriety and of its aesthetically convincing realization, it is a matter of deliberately staged abysses, of the contingency at the heart of existence, and of the attempt to explain everything with everything.