The work of Andrea Büttner (born 1972) includes woodcuts, reverse glass painting, sculpture, video and performance. She creates connections between art history and social or ethical issues, with a particular interest in notions of poverty, shame, vulnerability and dignity, and the belief systems that underpin them.
Büttner’s work often makes reference to religious communities, drawing attention to the relationship between religion and art, and between religious communities and the art world. The video Little Sisters: Lunapark Ostia focuses on a sisterhood of nuns who manage an arcade in a small amusement park in Ostia, near Rome. The nuns speak about their work and respond to questions posed by Büttner concerning happiness, spirituality and spectacle.
Büttner used material for workers’ uniforms to make the ‘fabric paintings’ and tent-like structure in this display. She is interested in the social connotations of the fabric, but also the austerity that can be associated with uniforms. Her use of techniques such as woodcuts and glass painting are associated with traditional craft and the amateur artist. However, these works also carry art historical references, from German expressionism to gestural painting to the modernist grid. Büttner frequently uses bench structures, as she has done here, offering visitors a space of respite and contemplation.