Andrea Büttner was born in 1972 in Stuttgart, Germany, and lives between Berlin and London. Büttner works across printmaking, sculpture, painting, film and collaborative projects. Her subjects are equally broad ranging, exploring topics including botany, Catholicism, philosophy and art history. She often references other artists such as HAP Grieshaber, Gwen John, Martin Kippenberger and Dieter Roth, as well as thinkers and philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Simone Weil. Ideas of shame, vulnerability, poverty and embarrassment run throughout her work.
In works such as Beggar 2016, an ongoing series of woodblock prints, Büttner appropriates the figure of Ernst Barlach’s sculpture Verhüllte Bettlerin, 1919, by presenting the simplified form of a beggar. The gesture of the hooded kneeling figure with outstretched hands becomes a symbol of both vulnerability and forgiveness. Throughout much of the work, Büttner gives agency to emotions and states that are often negatively prescribed by society.
Büttner frequently references the limitations of the body, often painting the gallery walls as high as she can reach and using materials known for their fragility such as unfired clay. In a recent body of work the artist has transcribed the smudges left behind on her iPhone screen into colourful etchings that recall mid-century gestural abstraction. Once again, the overlooked and undervalued is brought into the physical gallery space, giving care and attention to a residual mark left by a human body on a digital device.
26 Sep 2017 – 7 Jan 2018 (Free)
Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Discover more at hull2017.co.uk/turnerprize