The Kunstverein Hannover and the Sprengel Museum Hannover present one of the most comprehensive surveys of the work by the concept artist Timm Ulrichs (born 1940). Timm Ulrichs’ oeuvre not only has an undisputed art historical importance, but has also gained a new relevance against the backdrop of contemporary art production. This joint exhibition project is thus not only occasioned by Timm Ulrichs’ 70th birthday and five decades of artistic activities in Hannover, but also by the significance of his work, which is still pertinent in the context of recent contemporary art through the increased recourse to conceptual paradigms. The double exhibition encompasses his early works from the nineteen sixties to recent productions that have been developed especially for this exhibition.
The conviction that art and life cannot be separated from each other forms the starting point of Timm Ulrichs’ multifaceted oeuvre: “The totality of life equates the totality of art.” As early as 1961, he defined his living and work space in Hannover as the “Advertizing Agency for Total Art” including the “Room Gallery & Room Theater.” In 1966, he exhibited himself as the first living artwork, thus laying the foundation for a large number of works dealing with his own person, the exploration of the self, in order to focus on the temporality of existence in the identity of art and life. At the center of this intensely concrete self-portrait, which is often based on naked medical measurements, is the search for the Archimedean point at which the analysis of the self is productively linked to human existence in general. “Total Art,” as Ulrichs characterizes his own art, knows no boundaries as regards genre and encompasses such diverse disciplines as the natural sciences, philosophy and sociology, which serve to get to the bottom of human existence.
The unmistakable hallmark of Timm Ulrichs’ works is the extraordinary connection between lightness and intellectual wit with meticulous and deeper analytical meaning as well as the ingenious examination of language, its borders and logical misunderstandings.