Smoking Guns 2006 / Signature 1997
In the drawings entitled Smoking Guns, multiple Markus Schwanders from two or three different life stages meet each other. Using a collection of photos of himself since childhood, the artist confronts himself with the past and questions his identity over time.
In 1997, Schwander contended the identity of his name by having it handwritten by various people and using it for a series of slides. The identities of recipient and sender meet in the typeface on the hand-addressed envelope.
“Several of your works that have been mentioned here go through a process in which one single activity is played through by different people. Data is then collected. This reminds me of empirical scientific methods. In this way a great amount of information can be brought together, horizontally. But in order for order to be imposed on the collection, the researcher needs a question to which, by his actions, he will find an answer. And just such a wish arises in the viewer or reader of this kind of ‘study’, a wish for conclusions or results. In the case of the signatures, people were asked to write the name ‘Markus Schwander’. One handwriting was dynamic, another intent on beautiful script, haste, force, etc. Whoever reads these signatures is confronted with a riddle; he becomes a detective, for all these signatures claim to represent a certain person via their handwriting. One is inevitably on the lookout for the true, the right trace of Markus Schwander.”