The work of German artist Andrea Büttner (°1972) includes woodcuttings, screen prints, reverse glass paintings, sculptures, videos and performances. She attempts to create connections between art history and social issues, with a particular interest in notions of poverty, shame, sexuality, vulnerability and dignity, and the belief systems that underpin them. Büttner’s work often references religious communities, drawing attention to the relationship between religion and art. Her previous public exhibitions have featured in the Museum for Modern Art in Frankfurt, Tate Britain in London and Museum Ludwig in Cologne. She has participated in dOCUMENTA 13, the Sao Paulo Biennale and won the Max Mara Prize in 2010.
The 1960s counter-culture often resorted to music as a way of expressing social contestation. Music was seen not only as an elevated and harmonious aesthetic experience, but was used to voice anger and discontent. The quintessence of that tendency was the destruction of an instrument. It’s not only guitars that have fallen victim to this creative-destructive drive, but, surprisingly, pianos too. Andrea Büttner invites new consideration of this tendency in her bold piece entitled Piano Destructions. On the video shown next to historical footage of artistic performances focusing on the destruction of pianos, female musicians perform several piano pieces. While both piano performance and piano destruction are typically seen as male activities, these female pianists are intently oblivious of that charged history. Counterbalancing the weight of that legacy, they invite us to enjoy music in its pure beauty.