Veronika Schäpers

Ich—wann? Wo?

Veronika Schäpers

Ich—wann? Wo?



Edition Size



Aquatint, Letterpress




Artist Book


8.25 × 5 in


Berlin, Germany

$ 1,200.00


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Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

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In his poem Ich – wann? Wo? (Me – when? Where?) the Berlin-based author Heiko Michael Hartmann juxtaposes the subject and the object (the subjective Ego and the objective Ego), swapping their position through a continuous change of perspective.

Hartmann wrote this poem especially for this book, which was first presented at the  “Absence” exhibition in the Neues Kunsthaus Ahrenshoop in 2007.

Bearing in mind the title of the exhibition as well as the mind game between the “Ego” and its counterpart, I started to look for persons who are present but don’t exist. They hold an identity, but if someone tries to contact them, they turn out to be “absent persons”, to be nonexistent.

The most well-known example of such a person in Germany is Erika Mustermann, appearing in official document samples for more than twenty years. She has gotten younger over the years and adjusted her hairstyle to present fashions, but besides this, she hasn’t changed since first appearing in public in 1981. I found other absent persons in different countries: John Citizen from Australia, Nippon Taro from Japan, Felice Aurelio Modello from Switzerland, etc. From those I chose ten persons whose portraits I enlarged and cut like a cadavre exquis into stripes. With these stripes, I composed new faces, all of them without eyes, and created ten new identities. These faces are printed in bright orange onto a two-layered orange-colored kraft paper partially overlaid by the poem in silver following the same stripe pattern. On the verso of the accordion fold book, one can find small portraits of the ten “absent” people as well as their date of birth.

The book is kept in a dustcover made of semitransparent PVC, letting the title on the front cover shine through. Referring to the theme of absence, I addressed a yellow parcel from the German Post and mailed it to the ten “absent” persons. After they came back with the remark “return to sender”, I pasted the inside with a silver paper and used it as a box for the book. Keeping in mind that someone might open the parcel, I inserted a copy of the poem and a brief explanation of the project.
— Veronika Schäpers

Double-sided letterpress print in orange and silver by polymer clichés on hososhi paper. Accordion fold. 13 cm x 21 cm (closed), 13cm x 146 cm (open).
Folded dustcover made of semitransparent vinyl chloride and gum rods.
Packed in a stamped and mailed yellow parcel from the German Post.
Edition of 5 Artists’ copies, 6 Roman numbered, and 24 Arabic numbered copies.

Ich – wann? Wo? 
Heißt anwesend hier,
heißt abwesend dort,
zu zweit in Raum und
Zeit bist du, ist Ich

Denn Du und Ich,
das bist du selbst,
ein Auge, das sich sieht

Du sprichst und hörst,
weil alles fließt,
der Raum, die Zeit,
was bleibt?

Liest du das,
bist du ich,
und ich bin du,
nicht dort, nicht hier,
bloß eine Stimme,
die sich hört,
erst hier und
jetzt sind wir

by Heiko Michael Hartmann

I—when? Where?
Means present here,
means absent there,
a pair in space and
time are you, is I

For You and I,
that’s who you are,
an eye that sees itself

You speak and hear,
for all this flows,
both space and time,
what’s left?

Reading this,
you are I,
and I am you,
not there, not here,
simply a voice
hearing itself,
just here and
now are we

Translation: Emily Banwell