H. Tänzer

1,83 x 1,00 m

Ballpen on paper


Susan Donath is a contemporary artist from Dresden. Repeatedly she deals with the topic of death. In 2020, the exhibition "Das Letzte" (The Last) was on view at the Museum für Sepulkralkultur – or not on view, because due to Corona we only had the opportunity to open the exhibition to visitors for a short time. What remained from this exhibition is the work "H. Tänzer", which now enriches our collection.

Susan Donath writes about her work:

"Paper "scrawled" all over with dark ballpoint pen; "There is a relationship between the work H. Tänzer (2018) and the work 1.83 m² (2016). It is a work that is technically identical to the work H. Tänzer. The only difference between the works is the coloration. In the case of 1,83 m² I have marked a paper all over with red ballpoint pens and in the case of H. Tänzer with black pens. I have at intervals strong neurodermatitis, I was particularly affected by it during my childhood and youth. In particularly tense situations, even today my first impulse is to scratch the crook of my arm. For the moment this action is an outlet and relaxing, because the itch is satisfied for a short time. In the long run, this creates a chain reaction, the itching becomes stronger and the skin becomes more and more irritated. My skin is therefore an issue for me. It directly reflects my psychological state. Through this confrontation I have begun to deal with the surface and calculation possibilities of the outer skin. The surface of my skin is 1.83 m². Based on several material studies on paper, I discovered that the structure of paper changes when you "scribble" all over it with ballpoint pen. It starts to curl and the permanent pressure of the lead on the paper creates a structure that looks and feels like skin, both visually and haptically. I then divided the dimensions of the surface into 1.83 x 1.00 m and designated a paper in this size full-surface. In the first version, the pens were red. This work 1.83 m² is a direct reference to me. I see the work today as a self-portrait. In 2013, my grandfather, Heinz Tänzer passed away. He was a very important person for me, who also supported me significantly in every form of "being different". In the discourse about my profession, which my parents were always critical of, he was the one who gave me the "free pass". His reasoning was that if I was absolutely sure about the choice, then the choice was the right choice for me, regardless of the environment. When I think of my grandfather, I also think of his skin. He had dry, rough skin, golden in color. In recent years, it changed. He got black spots, starting at the temples. The end was otherwise barely visible. In 2018, analogous to the work 1.83 m², I decided to draw the skin of my grandfather. Instead of red ballpoint pens, I used black ballpoint pens, a reference to the stains and his death. The size, weight and surface of my grandfather's skin and the work H. dancer is identical to my own."


facebook youtube instagram

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur

Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Weinbergstraße 25–27
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0

Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst
Kassel Documenta Stadt
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz