Timm Ulrichs

Biography of Timm Ulrichs

Timm Ulrichs is considered as one of Germany’s most influential conceptual and action artists. Though void of a signature style, his oeuvre spans across a vast array of mediums, including sculpture, installation, performance art, video, and photography. He has also widely experimented in the fields of printmaking and the creation of artist books. Timm Ulrichs has been lauded in the German art world for anticipating artistic trends, introducing innovative approaches, themes and concepts—most notably that of the “total” artist.


In 1958, at only 18 years of age, Timm Ulrichs established the “Central Advertising Agency for Total Art, Banalism and Extemporality” in conjunction with the Zimmer Gallery and Theater in Hannover. This institution’s purpose was to develop, produce and disseminate “total art”; an art that was linked to everyday life, very much inspired by ideas of the readymade and the musings of avant-gardists such Kurt Schwitters and Marcel Duchamp. Under the pretext of “total art”, Timm Ulrich’s own body and everyday routines would become the principal objects of his creative output. In 1961 he would declare himself as the “first living work of art”, and would go about his career conceiving works from banalities such as birth certificates, school reports, and even dental records. By creating ambiguities out of everyday life and producing art that evaded clear definition, his work engaged with viewers in a provocative, but often highly entertaining way.


In 1969 Timm Ulrichs took part in the seminal exhibition “Konzeption” (Conception), curated by Konrad Fischer at the Museum Morsbroich in Leverkusen, Germany, an exhibition which was celebrated for introducing Conceptual Art to the Federal Republic of Germany. Following this, Timm Ulrichs participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at renowned international institutions such as the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. His work forms part of the collections of museums such as the MoMA, New York, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.

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