contemporary art / history of art

Thyra Schmidt

Born in Pinneberg, Germany (1974) Thyra studied fine arts (painting and photography) at the University of Applied Sciences and Art in Hannover under Peter Tuma. After a guest residence at the Hiroshima City University (Japan) and studies at the University of Art (HBK) in Braunschweig under Dörte Eißfeldt. Afterwards, she went to the Kunstakademie (Academy of Fine Arts) Düsseldorf, Germany in the class of Thomas Ruff until 2005.

Together with other students of Thomas Ruff, she founded the artist group FEHLSTELLE in 2003, which realises art-projects in public space. Thyra’s individual works are sometimes also situated in public space like “I can’t just be nowhere” in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute in Oslo, Norway and “Staccato” for the Kunstverein Paderborn, Germany. At the same time, her works are shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions in Germany and abroad such as France, Italy, Brazil and South Korea.

Besides photography, Thyra started already in 2007 to experiment with scripture. For her participation at the “Congress of Futurologists” in Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany, she asked people to write words or small sentences on paper provided by her. Since this time, she reflects on images that are formed by writings. For “I can’t just be nowhere” in Oslo she combined text and photo. The texts were quotes by different authors, partly modified by her.

Progressively, Thyra evolved from her initially mostly photo-based works to text dominated. In her solo exhibition in 2015 “Blaue T-Shirts, Jeans und Turnschuhe” (Blue T-Shirts, Jeans and Trainers) at Martin Leyer-Pritzkow, Düsseldorf, there were seven texts and only two photos. As supplement to the exhibition, the artist published in 2017 a small book including new works of the series from 2016. Therein are five photos and thirteen texts, all by herself.

The arrangement of the words indicates how the sentence should be read, with breaks for dwell time. Moreover, these texts can be received as abstract pictures, especially for non-German speakers and particularly for people who cannot read Latin letters.

During her artist residence in Hongcheon in 2017, South Korea, Thyra created a work, once again a text. Since it was exposed at the façade of the Hongcheon Art Museum, it was translated into Korean. For the average western onlooker, who cannot read the letters the abstraction is evident. 두 친구가 그 방을 떠난다. 그리고 다른 길로 걸어간다 (Two friends leave the room and walk in different directions) was our artwork of the month of October 2017.

In 2019, Thyra edited her artist book “Über Diebe und die Liebe. On Thieves and Love.” with an English translation by Enrico Nake, published by the edition cantz. For this, she transformed the typographic sheets from her exhibition “Über Diebe und die Liebe” from at Neuer Kunstverein Wuppertal into a hardcover. By the insertion of blank pages, she extended the gaps created by the layout of the text.

Until 15 May 2020, Thyra has the solo exhibition “Rendezvous” at Martin Leyer-Pritzkow in Düsseldorf. Here she presents several flower still-lifes and one typographic sheet. Since the exhibitions is only visible by appointment due to the coronavirus-crisis, an online booklet is released. Also the current group exhibition “Sehnsucht nach dem Jetzt” at Schloss Bielsdorf, which comprises an audio-collage by the artists is accessible online.

Thyra lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Thyra Schmidt: Über Diebe und die Liebe. On Thieves and Love.

Artwork of the month / June 2015

Artwork of the month / October 2017

Interview: Thyra Schmidt – I just can’t be nowhere