I have been following the work of Jan Timme for a number of years and since 2004 have been acquiring works by this, in my opinion, superb conceptual artist.
The exhibition described here comprises works exclusive to the collection, which were meticulously curated and installed by the artist himself. Jan Timme succeeded in bringing together the works – which were procured without his influence – in an intellectually stimulating way.
For the show, Jan Timme designed an edition that can only be phonetically deciphered: hence the title Audio piece. Cut out from a poster for south park, it is Timmy, who is only able to say his name, and even that not correctly: He pronounces the last letter as a short “e”. The poster fragment thus became the announcement of the artist’s name as well as of the exhibition.
Corresponding to this work is the framed page of a magazine featuring a picture of Scarlett Johansson. The headline, “the season of blonde never fades”, is exaggerated to absurdity by the title of the work (Degrees of lightfastness of printing inks according to wool scale), which explains the “blue wool scale” that is used to classify the lightfastness of printing inks.
Complices accomplis is one of Timme’s earlier art pieces, which was reworked for the show. The clock was previously a permanent installation on the window of the Hamburger Kunstverein until a new director took charge. Through its anamorphic clock face, it also defines a specific location for the viewer: from only one spot in the room does the clock have its customary round shape. once the clock was no longer desired in Hamburg, it became a travel clock, and with its glass pane packed in a custom-made transport box, it was brought to Berlin.
The words Nothing is written is the color inverse of a work that is part of the collection. This piece is black on a white wall. the letters become slightly smaller from left to right, while the distance between the “o” and the “t” is somewhat larger – which also expands the meaning of the text. This work is also about a slight shift, albeit in a different context.
With regard to Coffee table coffee table: One purpose of the classic coffee table is to attractively present coffee table books. Jan Timme’s coffee table presents itself. Through gravitation it rests in itself, staying together without a single screw. It is thus superior to all other tables.
The work There is enough magnesium in the human body to take a photograph (Installation shot) was already presented in our show less. The photographed text was previously mounted on the exhibition wall. It was photographed and then removed. Only the photograph of the wall piece can now be seen. Would the magnesium present in a human body be enough to produce this photograph?
In 2005, Jan Timme was invited to participate in a group exhibition about the relatively unknown English poet John Taylor (1580-1653). The title Portrait of J.T. could refer to John Taylor as well as to the artist himself. The Polaroid photograph depicts a glass of shandy, reflected in the wall of a bar. In order to make this picture, the artist (and the shandy) waited one night until an itinerant photographer entered the bar and took the picture. This work references an earlier work in which the artist himself waited as a photographer in a park until two magpies were positioned in front of him so he could take a picture of them both.
Sag es treffender (engl.: say it better) is a collaborative work realized with David Lieske. Six pages are identical editions from a thesaurus (by A.M. Textor, Sag es treffender). They include synonyms for words such as “gehorchen” (engl.: obey), “Geld” (engl.: money), “geliebte” (engl.: beloved), and “gelingen” (engl.: succeed). The display cases also belong to the work. Inside are the editions that had not yet been sold when the work was acquired as a whole. The scope of the work is dependent on the time of its acquisition.
Le temps tordu is a men’s wristwatch that has been twisted into a möbius strip. An instrument for the exact measurement of time becomes a symbol of timelessness.
“work is a four-letter word” is self-explanatory. the realization that work is a four-letter word can only be made upon the onset of darkness and with the appropriate lighting. The actual title of the work, Five words, is a further ironic gesture.
The central piece in the exhibition consists of the light box in front of the entrance containing a print ad for a carousel slide projector, an actual slide projector, as well as a cd player attached to the wall. in addition to the formal attributes (the round in the square), there is, of course, a deeper connection: The discovery of the “wheel” for slide projectors and its market launch. The piece references an episode of an American television series about an advertising agency (Mad Men), where they develop a campaign for the carousel slide projector. The corresponding presentation pitch can be heard through the cd player. The lightbox with the advertisement for the projector is one possible version of the ad campaign. The projector on the floor beams a text into the air, in which a friend of philosopher Bertrand Russell tells of the latter’s hearing problems – and the resulting communication difficulties – and his inability to deal with technical equipment. The text only becomes legible when a projection surface entered the beam of light in the middle of the room. Incidentally, this is the same spot from which the “magnesium photo” cannot be seen. And so we come full circle.
List of works
David Lieske & Jan Timme
Sag es treffender, 2004
Audio piece, 2009
Coffee table coffee table, 2009
Degrees of lightfastness of printing inks according to wool scale: 1 = very poor, 2 = poor, 3 = moderate (summer: 4–8 days, winter: 2–4 weeks), 4 = fairly good (summer: 2–3 weeks, winter: 2–3 months), 5 = good (summer: 3–5 weeks, winter: 4–5 months), 6 = very good (summer: 6–8 weeks, winter: 5–6 months), 7 = excellent (summer: 3–4 months, winter: 7–9 months), 8 = maximum lightfastness (over 18 months), 2009
Nothing is written (White), 2002/09
Complices accomplis, 2001/02/09
There is enough magnesium in the human body to take a photograph (Installation shot), 2005
Portrait of J.T., 2003/05
Five words, 2002
Le temps tordu, 2002