Tilman Hornig


Seeing_Through_Looking_Through_Gazing: Tilman Hornig’s Alienation Strategy

by Bernhard Maaz

Photography reproduces the seen and the given: that is the straightforward, commonly-held opinion. As is well-known, however, it has long been possible to manipulate photographic images if they are to serve journalistic, political or perhaps also ideological interests. By now, there are software programmes in existence that enable even any private individual to erase from his or her holiday photosand thus from materially manifested memorypersons who have dropped out or been cast out of their lives, or deliberately forgotten. And the respective advertising wipes the former partner off the screen, making possible, as it were, autobiographically retrospective image manipulations that extinguish elements of a curriculum vitae and hence of life experience. Consequently, photography has long become manipulable for everyone and anyone on an absolutely day-to-day basis. It thus needs to acquire a new methodology for the establishment of truth and new strategies of assertionboth for the medium’s own self-assertion and for asserting the truth of what is depicted.

Born in Zittau in 1979, Tilman Hornig studied in Dresden under Martin Honert and others. He currently lives and works in Dresden, employing a variety of artistic media, among them photography. Most of the photographic images that mankind generates and consumes nowadays are not viewed in albums or in exhibitions but on the so-called mobile device or terminal, the smartphone or, at the outside, the laptop. The ground-glass screens of the erstwhile tube-based devicesthe television setshave been superseded by the backlit glass pane of the display. The fact that these glass surfaces have often become the “creatures” with which human beings have the most skin contact day-in, day-out is one of the bizarre features of the technological alienation of human beings from one another and from Nature. In passing, it is worth noting the fact that precisely this pane of glass is the most often damaged component of the robust technology and one which hence embodies the fragility of seeing. The instrument of seeing on the device is just as vulnerable as the retina of the human being.

In his series “Glass Phones”, Tilman Hornig isolates precisely this rectangular piece of glass with its characteristically rounded corners and its gently ground perimeter edge. He separates the optical aid from the device and allows us to see it, makes us see through intense gazing, makes the act of looking-through vividly visible, and combines seeing as looking-at with gazing as seeing-through. In a comparable way almost half a century ago, Nam June Paik concerned himself with contemplative seeing and the visualization of the act of seeing in his work “TV Rodin (Le Penseur)”: the screen of a small television set shows the picture that an adjacent camera records of a small-format replica of Auguste Rodin’s “Le Penseur”. The motionlessly sitting thinker thinks, the camera films, the screen displays, the beholders see the self-enclosed circuit of image (re)production, see an icon of sculpture becoming an iconic image by means of technological aids and, there again, see the entire ensemble becoming a self-referential icon of the viewing of art.

So what could be more appropriate for an artist of today than to reassure himself concerning the seeing of art by means of a, so to say, deaf-dumb-and-blind instrumentthe “glass phone”and with the assistance of professional art scrutinizers, i.e. with the directors of museums of art or ethnology or with members of their teams. Tilman Hornig travels the country with his camera and the almost sculpturally isolated glass pane on the look-out for people who are willing to become involved in his project. He does and did this independently of many other digital projects that are taking place up and down the land. Nevertheless there are chance affinities, as for example in the recent past with the advertising campaign for an exhibition project in the Städtische Galerie Villingen-Schwenningen, which reflects the current developments under the slightly provocative title “Digital is Better”a reference to a song that the band Tocotronic brought out in 1995. Is digital better, or is this a euphemism? The advertising campaign for the project uses as its lead image a robot hand holding a dazzlingly white iPhone, a pane of light without any picture, a place-holder as it were forfor what? Perhaps for images of Nature even, for ideas, dreams or projections?

Not all of the conversation and image partners whom Tilman Hornig contacted were prepared to take part in the experiment, be it through lack of time, lack of conviction or lack of curiosity. Yet all of those who agreed to participate are shown from behind, visible in part with the respiratory mask mandatory in the pandemic, an accessoire of disengagement and dissociation that adds a further distance to the already inaccessible back view portrait photograph. It is fascinating to see in what different ways people hold this glassin one hand, with a few fingers, or in two hands. These hands, moreover, are eloquent: they bear witness to younger or older stages of life, confess to absent marriages or refuse any statement on the subject, display jewellery or wrist-watches, border on elements of apparel, sleeves or cuffs, and again and again one can look into the palm of the hand, can see the life lines, whose interpretation could open up wholly new horizons of thoughthand portraits of people whose fingers normally hold mobile phones, fountain pens and pencils, or hammer away on keyboards.

The author of these lines could write about these people, whose hand-portraits form a coterie of friends and colleagues, since the picture sequence brings together many people who are linked up in projects, connected through mutual experience, and united in friendships. Such a narration, however, would add nothing essential to the workfor the sequence can be seen as such, as an entityindeed, it would be a distraction, because this is not about biographies or anecdotes. Nor is it primarily about what journeys lie behind the photographs or what places are registered: Berlin, Brunswick, Bremen, Chemnitz, Cottbus, Dresden, Hanover, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Wiesbaden, Wolfsburg, Wuppertal and a few others. One could talk about which pictorial motifs the persons photographed have singled out for their moment of self-exhibition. The array stretches from mediaeval painting to modernism, the choice falling in almost all cases on paintings. This is a confirmation of the culturally formative role of this medium among the visual arts. Whereas architecture was once considered the mother of the arts, it is now painting that is seen as the fine arts’ crowning achievement. Be this a result of the admiration for its market value, for the craft skills it involves, for its indestructibility, or for the often profound insight into the world and humankind expressed within itTilman Hornig’s experiment teaches us to see that what we see first of all when we want ourselves to be seen as seeing creatures is painting.

The persons photographed led the photographer to their chosen motifs. Many of themchosen by women and by menare female figures, portraits, saints, nudes. The pane of glass held in the hand prises out of the painting a focus, which with a healthy dose of intuition has emerged in interaction between the two people concerned in taking the photograph. The hand guides the segmentalizing gaze, steering the eye of the beholder to details of the works of art, thus blocking other details out, confounding and provoking. Is it permissible to curtail, to skewer, to question the aura of the painting in such a way? Does this violate the sanctity of the original? Or is the interplay of picture frame and glass edge rather an ironic refraction? The two framesand likewise the delimited surface of the picturegenerate a limitation of seeing which is not identical with the human field of vision. In the angular shape of the “glass phone”, glass, the hard material, becomes a factor that makes seeing more supple. Inevitably one asks oneself what is being singled out and what unity the picture would form without this disturbance of vision. In its purity, moreover, the glass has the effect of an unwritten sheet of paper: it gleams with spotlessness and immaculacy, and yet at the same time invites one to take a first creative step.

The glass develops a striking double nature. In addition to directing the gaze, it is also a reflecting surface. Segments of the face or of the glasses worn by the portrayed person become visible: the visual act of the photographed person forms part of that of the photographer and thus also of the beholder. Seeing becomes a threefold gazing. Visual reflection and mental reflection enter into dazzling interplay.

Most of those photographed chose iconic works from their collections, thus hoping for the recognition factor of place and object. Mandatory thinking in marketing categories has evidently become second nature in the museum sector. In one case, the choice fell on a collection ‘item’ that disregards any iconic work of art and eternalizes the celebratory presentation of an entire ensemble of paintings. The view into the Rubenssaal of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, a view chosen by an artist at the end of the 19th Century to keep a record of the very heart of this gallery building in its dignity and seniority, shows a living museum: there hang the large-format works of the Flemish grand masteras they still hang todaypresented in their established room, especially designed and built for them, but there in the centre of the room is also a plush settee arrangement, on which visitors are sitting, reading and resting, while to the side other visitors are strolling around the museum and an attendant is standing on duty. The motif presented to Tilman Hornig thus reflects museum history as a lineage of seeing and was chosen in order to place today’s seeing in an on-flowing stream of history and to bring former gallery-goers, the painter, the photographed objects, and the current or future art-loving public together into a grand harmony and continuum.

There is a similar complexity in Tilman Hornig’s photograph taken in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg: the red-clad figure from “Maria und Elisabeth” with its domestic setting shows Elisabeth, attired in red, winding onto a spool the thread spun by the Virgin Marypositioned in the painting by the master of the Nuremberg Marienaltar beyond the left edge of the photograph. On the left at Elisabeth’s feet sits John, her son, and to his left can be seen the truncated figure of the Christ child. The biblical story dating from the years just after the beginning of our era was painted for the Nuremberg Frauenkirche by an anonymous artist at the start of the 15th Century, came into the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in mid-19th Century, was placed behind glassas the vertical bluish stripe revealsin the 20th Century, and has now, at the opening of the 21st Century been chosen for this series of reflections on art and its history. Just as multi-facetted as this history of the motif and the work is the photograph taken of it. Alongside the painting, the photograph shows a second layerthe above-mentioned bluishly reflecting glasswhich is followed by a third level, the “glass phone” itself, to which a fourth is added, since the motif is reflected in the ophthalmic lens on the right, while the lens of Tilman Hornig’s camera supplies a fifthspatial and historicaldimension.

The complexity of such a photographic appropriation would be hard to visualize were it not in such motifs. Tilman Hornig succeeds in making perceptive seeing through conscious gazing visible. It is a strikingly creative alienation strategy.

translated by Richard Humphrey

Paul Barsch & Tilman Hornig - Mindfuck
Gluben Mench, 2018

“It is not a question of the meaning and reality of what is happening or what it means. Before asking what is that, what does that mean, before the quid, ‘first’, so to speak, requires that it happens, quod. That it happens always goes, so to speak, ‘ahead’ of the question of what happens. For that it happens, that is the question as an event; ‘afterwards’ only it refers to the event that has just happened. […] It happens, il arrive is ‘first’ a: Is it happening? Is it possible? Then the question mark is determined by the question: If this or that happens, is this or that, it is possible that this or that will happen”. Jean-François Lyotard

Tilman Hornig - Proposal for Narrative Techniques

The narrative theory remains one of the most important approaches to the analysis of fiction. One example appears in "The White Elephant" or in Tilman Hornig's group of work "Proposal for Narrative Techniques".

Before we consider this too carefully, it is essential to understand that the scientific connections of collective consciousness are such things as, the motif, the subject, the figure and the plot, the style or structure, the scenery and the point of view. In addition, abstract methods are best understood by combining one of these components.

The following, obviously false quote from the czech philosopher Vilém Flusser, summarizes how we can use these elements effectively: "We are creatures of reflection and speculation. So we can do something that the caveman was not able to do: develop a philosophy of misunderstanding. And this process of realization, appears to us in the form of a steadily growing collection of opportunities...“

If you think that you should have access to this quote, please contact your librarian.

Of course, not all intentions are focused on a narrative. For example, Minecraft: the title is more about the possibilities of your predictive power than sending players on a fixed route or explaining their surroundings. Firemaking in familiar surroundings - making fire to familiarize yourself with an environment. Both possibilities form an objective picture and the same tradition of reception. Each thesis on the individual narrative is thus in harmony with the perception of the cavemen.

So what? In the story of Cinderella, we learn that Cinderella's father lost his wife and married another woman who has two other daughters. In the meantime, he realized that he could not enter into any dialogue with the elephant at all. This is important for us to understand how the dialogue of subjective perception and individual partiality does not function in the simultaneous interpretation process.

But is there a particular moral, intellectual and emotional consistency that could be real or imaginary? No. "Proposal for Narrative Techniques" shows us an objective picture which appears as a reflection of the feeling that something is the case - but not hidden.

Tilman Hornig & Paul Barsch - Episode 4: Bathroom
curated by Aghata Valkyrie Ice
at Oslo 10, Basel

Tilman Hornig - Nevermind
2015 - ongoing



Tilman Hornig - Flipmode
at Autocenter Berlin & Galerie Gebr. Lehmann

press release:

Tilman Hornig's works emerge from a reaction to current events. His way of working is both intuitive and conceptually cross-media.

For his solo exhibition "Flipmode" in the gallery Gebr. Lehmann the artist has developed a new series of works with white wall paint and the European flag. The flag with its centered circle of stars, stretched in square format on frame, is extensively painted and presented as a rhomb. Each of the works remains untitled and is similar in form and aesthetics.

In 1955, the flag was introduced by the Council of Europe as a clearly defined symbol. It stands for unity, solidarity and harmony. The EU is at the same time an abstract and real structure that remains constantly ambivalent in terms of physics and idea. The painting of the flag is not an annihilation, but refers to the abstractness of reality.

The pointed symmetric rhomb is geometrically an unstable state.

Flipmode is an ambiguously definable term. It does not describe any concrete upside or downside, but is best understood as steady state change.

all works: untitled, emulsion paint on flag, 2017
Tilman Hornig & Paul Barsch

„Immer Müde und Scheiss Wetter in New York“

series of custom made umbrellas

Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Tilman Hornig - GlassPhone
portable and applied sculpture
2014 - ongoing

Narrative Devices
Berlin Biennale, 2016
Narrative Devices
Narrative Devices II
Narrative Devices III

Tilman Hornig - GlassBook
2013 - ongoing series

Content is King! I
Content is King! II

Exhibition Text

The Diaphane:
On Materiality and Immateriality of the Computer Screen 

“Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies.

Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure.”

James Joyce: Ulysses


Metaphors flourish where the overwhelmingness of the sublime is in danger of condemning us to speechlessness – when we are con- fronted with the existential quaternary of death, god, nature, and love. Today, nothing is described by so many metaphors as the com- puter. According to Apple’s Steve Jobs, it is a “bicycle for the mind.” Microsoft’s Bill Gates describes the computer in more sober terms as “a tool.” The neurologist Peter Whybrow, in turn, warns hysterically that the computer produces actual cascades in the brain’s reward center, just like “electronic cocaine.”

Concerning its revolutionary impact on social structures, it is com- monplace to compare the computer to the “printing press.” Since the sixties, more comprehensible, but generally contradictory images are in use, including “super calculator,” “great library,” “toy,” “type- writer,” “notepad,” and the anthropomorphizing “assistant.”


As a consequence of our speechlessness in the face of the techno- logical sublime, we are looking at the computer as a mirror that should reflect ourselves. For a long time, we’ve used the metaphor of the computer being a “brain,” which ultimately went so far that the human brain, in turn, has been described in terms of a computer, instead of the other way round. Alluding to the Turing Test defining artificial intelligence, informatics pioneer Joseph Weizenbaum dub- bed the computer a “human pretender.” Fittingly, the computer “runs” in our contemporary imagination or – most often tragic – it “dies.”


Strictly speaking, because of their enormous flexibility, computers are indescribable. Their level of being is not the same as that of any other object, but rather that of a transcendental apparatus, through which every possible perception must pass in order to be real. Similar to the Kantian “green glasses” that dye all of reality green – an image employed by Heinrich von Kleist who met despair because of Kantian transcendental philosophy – the computer screen today is a prism, through which the light of reality reaches us, and which dyes that reality according to its structure, in accordance with the specific permeability of its crystals.


Only the computers of banks and stock markets materialize property. Only the digital archiving and normalization of social relations on microchips produce stable, continuous contacts. Only the recording and comparing of our data by medical computers make it possible to speak of health. In some countries, computers are already calculat- ing the results of elections by themselves. Because of their indis- pensability to modern physics, computers also define what we con- sider to be real. At this point, one has to correct philosopher Quentin Meillassoux, among the most ardent of Realism’s contemporary defenders: real isn’t what can be expressed in formulae. De facto real is what can be calculated by computers. Where computers fail, the horizon of our binding reality also ends – everything beyond that is “merely subjective.”


From an ontological point of view, computers – similar to Heidegger’s notion on Being – “are” not at all. Today, they are required to deter- mine any kind of being. They, therefore, precede any kind of being. Computers “are” not, they exist as an invisible given, which pene- trates everything. Foremost, computers are nothing specific. As a universal medium, they are similar to that which Aristotle called the diaphanes, the “transparent” – an undetermined “in-between,” metaxu, which has to be formless in exactitude to take on any form and to transport all possible impressions. The significance of the computer also correlates to an image of the Stoics, the apeiron, ”the in-finite,” which, being primal matter par excellence, includes the possibility of any other matter, and which, exactly because of that, has no proper qualities itself.

It is therefore no accident that transparency is the ethos of our time.


The absolute permeability of the computer has evolved into a meas- ure for the organization of human relations and politics. In the face of the total permeability of the digital-diaphane primal matter, all infor- mation is equally decontextualized and deformed, transformed into mere “content” on the internet. And being the result of this process, the “content” we find on the internet does not contain anything, but is similarly deformed, in a subliminal way as empty as the computer itself.


Consequently, metaphors are also running wild when attempting to describe the internet. Being speechless in a proper sense, misnomer is added to misnomer. In one instance, the net is pastorally described as a “global village,” in another instance antithetically as a “highway,” and even more hysterically as an “ocean” or a “jungle” from which we have to “protect our children.” Or is it, after all, only a “playground for brainless narcissists”? To the net theorist Kevin Kelly, it is “a copy machine.” Orville Schell, a professor of journalism, said the computer was “like radioactivity,” because “once released, it is nearly impossible to contain.” From a political perspective, it was first claimed that the internet was like “oxygen to dissidents.” After the unveiling of the inner workings of the digital-military complex, which connects Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and several secret services, the internet was suddenly regarded as “the wet dream of the Stasi.”


First of all, “content” doesn’t contain anything in the proper sense, because this would require a purpose, a motive of the information on the internet that superseded the mere form, the medium. Without such context, there is no content in the proper sense. And the computer knows only one context: itself. Therefore, the majority of the information that we receive via the internet deals with the appara- tus itself. How fast is the new iPhone? Or, is Samsung better after all? By which new functions is Facebook violating our private sphere in an even more menacing way? In which software-firms should one invest today and which stocks should one sell right before the inevitable collapse of the next tech-bubble? What will change when private 3D-printers in children's rooms produce firearms? McLuhan’s formula, that the medium is the message, was never truer, never more absolute. The “content” of the internet is the nothingness of the computer and nothing more.


What is, paradoxically, most necessary in this world, is to forget about the computer itself, because otherwise everything would seem terribly one-dimensional and wan. Although we constantly talk about the computer and by means of the computer, we never talk of the computer in the proper sense. It is easier to believe we are looking at different things, when in fact we are just staring over and over at the same screen. The wall of metaphors which surround the computer bare witness to our essential silence in regard to the computer.


If there is an assertion, a meta-narrative at all, which does justice to this silence, it is the assertion of the immateriality of the computer. John Perry Barlow wrote in his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” of 1996: “Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.”


Barlow’s text was frequently ridiculed, but today it is fundamental to the political demands of the digital elite. The immateriality of the computer that is stated in this declaration became the foundation of the promise that – by its mere existence – the computer would trig- ger revolutions in virtually any material sector – politics, law, economy – as if it was an intervention by a deus ex machina from a better, pristine world before the fall from grace into earthly matter.


In the new Californian techno-gnosis, a Manichaean division is predominant, a division between the analog, demiurgic world of the “weary giants of flesh and steel” and the immaterial, light-flooded world of the “new home of mind,” which the computer pretends to be – both expressions stem from Barlow’s “Declaration of the Inde- pendence of Cyberspace.” A richer culture of “sharing,” direct democ- racy, the emancipation of women and consumers, breathtaking solutions for societal and environmental problems – all this shall happen practically automatically, once the fiber-wired portals to the im- materiality of cyberspace gape everywhere within the material sphere, once every single brain is transformed into a portal to the hive mind.


In regard to the phenomenology of the object, looking at its surface from the outside, one can already recognize the desire of the com- puter to negate its materiality. In no other sector, the tendencies of technology and design towards their own vanishing are so clear. According to Moore ́s Law, the capacity of microchips doubles every 18 months. A true obsession to minimize everything reigns, which has already compressed the capacity of the room-sized machines of the fifties into the size of a pants pocket. Once, the human brain was the most complex structure of nature. Today, it is the microchip. As if they wanted to amplify this ever and ever more spectacular disap- pearance of matter, the screens of laptops and smartphones are getting larger and larger. To gaze into an abyss of nothingness from a box seat, in colors as brilliant as the sun: this is the dream of our age.


Immateriality, which the computer states so vehemently with all of its existence, is its most cunning trick. Immateriality seems to discon- nect the computer from the whole world, from the corrupt structures of law, economy, and power of the material realm, to which it is in fact entangled. The proper question – the blind spot of the discourse of the computer – is the question of the materiality of the computer.


The illusion of the immateriality of the computer brought along hopes for better, more ethical industries and politics, which wouldn’t be based on the destruction of the environment via wars for raw materi- als and human exploitation. These hopes were a gigantic deception. Computing capacity requires power – at the moment roughly 10% of the energy globally produced – and it needs minerals, for the sake of which wars are being fought today in Congo and Afghanistan. The fairy tale of digital democracy was impossible without the cheap laptops and junk smartphones which tax avoiding American firms extract by the use of mental and physical violence from their Chinese working slaves.

The alleged “sharing” in social networks fills up the pockets of the new net monopolists and lets the archives of the state-run surveil- lance organisms swell to historically unprecedented extents.


Instead of a new golden age, we are witnesses to the dawning of cyber-totalitarianism, invulnerable as it remains without a face, without a form, without a space, without a body. The hopes for a bodiless information-economy turned out to be ideology in the Marxist sense, i.e. a “reversal of reality.” The consumer who is dwel- ling today in the exertive attempt to seem bodiless, characterizing the aesthetic of Apple and similar firms, dwells in a reversed reality, in which the screen must lose its materiality in order to disguise the fact that without it, everything would cease to exist.

Text by Johannes Thumfart


GlassPhone - Stille Nacht
Galerie Gebr.Lehmann, 2020

exhibition text by Katarina Lozo:

During his studies at the HfBK Dresden mainly active as a painter, Tilman Hornig's (*1980) work today is characterized by a strong medial diversity, the constant interweaving with contemporary phenomena and thus also digital image worlds. The further development and deepening of motifs in ongoing groups of works is based on a conceptual approach, which, however, manages without pathos or claim to truth due to the free, almost playful implementation in different scenarios and formats. Exemplary for this artistic practice is the group of works "GlassPhone", begun in 2014. A simple, glass object is readable here solely through its form as a smartphone and Hornig stages it accordingly as an applied sculpture.

Digital photographs and videos show omnipresent situations: Women and men hold the fictitious device in their hands, stretch it out to take a photo, look at the supposed screen, wipe their fingers across the transparent surface, scroll through an invisible feed or type a message.

These are strikingly unspecific and yet even more familiar motifs that evoke the clear aesthetics of advertising and stock photography. Also because people and places step back behind the object to give space to a universal truth. The device abstracted here into a symbol is real for almost everyone everywhere - in the private bedroom, in a café, in a museum, on a plane, in public urban space, in nature - and still remains only a tool for the virtual world.

By throwing back the symbol of digital space, limitless communication, infinite information to its purely material form, Hornig makes the paradoxical cultural elevation visible. For the device as such is free of any content, it is a neutral surface and at no time permanent. Only at the moment of use does it transfer the surrounding reality into a virtual illusion of the same, thus becoming a mirror of countless, varying realities. The transparency of the "GlassPhone" refers to the actual function of the smartphone as a transmitter of information and translator between the worlds. 
The complex and ever-increasing overlap of analog and digital realities is touched in the current exhibition "Silent Night" on a formal as well as on a content-related level. It shows 24 variations of a motif from the "GlassPhone" series. In the darkness of an airplane cabin - as the characteristic oval window hatch in the center lets us know - the human body disappears almost completely. Only the hand holding the sculpture is illuminated by the mystical light in the center of the picture, while the "GlassPhone" itself crosses the additional picture surface enclosed by the window frame in an almost perfect diagonal.The precise, harmonious composition differs in its execution only in this second picture surface, the landscape to be imagined and especially the atmosphere of light that radiates inwards and frames the sculpture like an aureole.  Golden sunrises or sunsets, rosy pastel evening moods, deep blue night skies or greenish shimmering auroras create stylized hyper-realities. They reveal that this motif was digitally mounted.

In the repetition of the perfect pictorial structure, a sharp artificiality lurks, leading away from the motif and back to the abstract, conceptual level of the work group. The compositional exaggeration - the superimposition of the glass surfaces as transitions to an actual and a virtual reality, which at first glance can quickly be interpreted - is given a surprising twist by this disclosure. A distinction between real and artificial, analog and digital, is of course no longer possible. Indeed, even the categories "real" and "artificial" no longer seem valid, since virtual content has a very real influence on life. Information flows today run in both directions and create equal realities.

Tilman Hornig - The Newromanzer
roses in concrete & reverse glass paintings
2007 - ongoing

back to painting

The Newromanzer
acryl & spray paint on glass - reverse glass paintings
old found windows

TXT on Devices (D Link Ultras - Frozen Gestures)
hand engraved routers on mirrors

Galerie Gebr. Lehmann

review on aqnb

Here we are now.

22 after 2k. 

.mp4 flex to 32bit float.

The sax - the heart. 

The quadcopter - the brain.

Duo d'Allemagne not wasting a life time learning jazz standards.

From iconic spamming to intellectual nonsense.

Always never predictable, never not cheesy. 

Battery life cycles full of joy.

You say you like free jazz. 

We don’t believe you.



Tilman Hornig - Sanitary Ceramics
2016 - ongoing project with Paul Barsch


The seasonal phenomenon of spring depression turns from allegory to real danger.

Tilman Hornig - Spring Depression, 2020

Tilman Hornig - TXT on Devices
Text printed / hand-engraved on D Link Ultra Routers, MacBook, Playstation4, Buffalo Air Station, Edimax Routers, NetGear Nighthawks, various DVD Player, Toshiba HD´s, Disc Player, etc....
2014 - ongoing






Paul Barsch & Tilman Hornig
Immer Müde Und Scheiss Wetter In New York
at DAS Bologna, 2019

Duo show with Nicolas Pelzer at Fiebach & Minninger, 2017

Press release

There’s an old Italian joke that goes like this:

Two friends are going to the market. It’s winter, and it’s freezing cold outside. While they walk, one says to the other: “When we were at home you couldn’t stop talking and now it’s almost half an hour that you’re silent. Is there anything that worries you? Are you sad?”, and his friend replies: “How could I talk? I don’t have my gloves and it’s too cold to pull out the hands from my pockets!”

In this exhibition, Tilman Hornig and Nicolas Pelzer present new series of works where the main subjects are hands and feet. In Hornig’s “Hands4Friends”, devices created for signal reception are used as support for drawings of hands, inspired by a series of photos he made in 2013. The hands he depicts are not communicating anything specific, they’re just there, being themselves, emitting no real signals but their presence, almost floating on the curved grey surfaces of the satellites. The devices’ concave forms somehow remind us of the concave shape of hands in the act of receiving…

The research of Nicolas Pelzer grows from an interest in the dawn of human history in prehistorical times and a comparison between the first tools of that period and the latest developments of technology. “Danse Macabre”, with its footprints watercut in PE foam, is an expansion of “Cave Walk”, a vinyl film with an impressed pattern of the same shapes. They both instinctively call us to mind the hand silhouettes from 7300 BC in Cueva de las Manos. Pelzer uses this reference to in many of his works, from “Permanent Souls are Solid” to the series “Evolving Masters”.

Hands have been our very first instrument, and have also been our very first communication tool. We used them to build objects that eventually brought them to be obsolete. By always using them, we built a technology that is brought to an information overload which makes us constantly feel insecure and not suitable.
In this context, iPhones are our new security blankets, which we use to constantly replay the crucial moment of becoming ourselves. By moving our hands on these devices, we’re producing a wide array of informations, collected by companies with the ultimate goal of building a model to predict our future desires and decisions – and this, instead of making us feel safer, only increases a sense of anxiety, amplified by knowing that we can’t do anything but fostering this process.

This paradoxical loop is well expressed in Hornig’s “GlassBook” and “GlassPhone” series: computers know nothing and do nothing but what we tell them to know and do, and our complete trust and reflection in them can only bring to a progressive obliteration. These works are never depicted along with the whole body of their users, but while they interacted with a portion of them: a gloved hand, the reflection of a head, a foot typing on a transparent keyboard.

The isolation of a part of our body, and its direct comparison with a technological device, being a LED lamp, a satellite dish or a PE foam mattress, can led us to some strange questions: May the metadata collection, whose main function is to build a model that anticipates our actions, but also to suggest and control our desires, in the long run led us to a perception of our body as something external from ourselves? If what commands our actions is external from ourselves, and the limb that carries out this action is not controlled by us, in which way we’re going to watch at our footsteps? What are they going to tell us? And if among them will appear some skeleton footprints, are we going to notice it? And an Italian guy, who maybe just came back home from the market on a freezing day, what will he think about his hands that gesticulate while he’s talking to a friend?

by Matteo Mottin