Jan Timme

“To Jan - All the best for Ebba's birthday” –seems like a normal birthday greeting, if it was not the artist edition Die Gabe (the gift) by Jan Timme (*1971 in Stuttgart, lives in Berlin). This shows a personal dedication on a book page. On closer inspection, one becomes aware of the translucent text on the following page, the title page of the novel The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov. By using the title of Nabokov, Timme emphasizes the linguistic referential character of his “gift”, the passing on of which is further multiplied from Nabokov via the artist to the viewer– book title, birthday present and edition gift. The work also refers to the song Dieses by the musician Ebba Durstewitz (band JaKönigJa), who translated and set to music poems by Fernando Pessoa. In these poems questions of biography and authenticity are evoked: who are "Jan" and "Ebba"?

In his installations and objects, Jan Timme works with shifts in meaning and compression. The artist plays with several layers of perception and levels of reality. His fragmentary and episodic-looking works and titles often evoke aspects of film, such as Suspense, which astonish the viewer. Thus, the dedication is ultimately only apparently a banal matter; on a meta-level of observation, existential questions of being and appearance, but also of identity and authorship, come up for discussion.


Jan Timme
Die Gabe, 2005
Inkjet printing
51 x 43 cm, framed
Edition: 7
Produced for the Künstlerhaus Bremen
500 €