Hermes Insensed



60 glass-framed photos, including 15 handwritten English texts (Tanya Ury),
15 handwritten German texts (translation: Alix Brand & Tanya Ury)

Edition of seven: No.1 - No. 60: 42 x 63 cm, No. 61: 50 x 75 cm (mounted and sealed under plexiglass)
(Edition of seven: No.1 - No. 60: 84 x 126 cm, No.61: 100 x 150 cm)

Catalogue, Korridor Verlag 2001 (D) ISBN 3-9802189-4-5

An audio CD for a tape-slide installation version of Hermes Insensed (2 x 80 slides) was produced in 2003: sound technician Lale Konuk.

In several of her works Tanya Ury has adopted the name of Hermè or Herme (her & me):

Hermeneurotic - a collection of works:
Hermes Insensed 2000-2001 (photo series with 15 short stories)
Building Bridges 2001 (short story)
Between the Lines or The Three Rs 2001 (short story)
Holding the Baby 2002 (2 photographs and short story)
Stick Insect 2003 (short story)
Getta Life 2003 (short story)
Night and Day 2003 (short story)
Hermesignet 2005 (gold ring with inscription)
Herme 2010 (digitally processed 1950’s fashion cover)
herlookingovermeshoulder 2011 (digitally processed 1940’s advertisement)
hermesends 2013 (digitally processed 1940’s fashion cover)

Double Portraits - a collection of works:
Hermes Insensed

Franco and Elke J. 2002
lesser is me more or less 2003
Your Rules 2004
or else 2007
Du bist Einstein 2007
doo bee doo 2007
Artistic freedom 2013

Photographs No. 1-60 may be divided into groups of 4. Each of these 15 subjects consists of two colour photographs and two corresponding photos of hand-written letters. 28 people from nearly a dozen countries were photographed in Zurich, Berlin, Stuttgart and Cologne. The depicted theme is an old-world ritual of formal intimacy: the hand-kiss. Hermes Insensed is nostalgia in a digital age. Interspersed with nursery rhymes and verses by the artist, the one-sided discourse reads on different levels: the socio-political, the private and personal. One pseudonym 'Her/me', addresses another 'Jacob' (or 'Jack'); but these titles, are they stereotypes, mythical figures, or just nicknames of regular people? Are the photos and texts documentary or fiction? The line isn't clear but between the lines, is clearly a utopian longing for peace, an appeal for grace.



"Her/me asked Doron about his mention of Josephus Flavius in connection with the historian Rabbi Murmelstein who, as one of Vienna's Judenrat, was required to organise the transports out of Vienna and the running of the concentration camp Theresienstadt. Doron explained that Murmelstein, philosopher and theologian, had before the war, published an anthology, which included texts by Josephus Flavius, the one-time commander of the Jewish uprising in Galilee against the Roman Empire 66-73 AD."

Extract from the 12th story

Tanya Ury

Errata: Catalogue and in the text images (German only)
Flavius was the one-time commander of the Jewish uprising in Galilee against the Roman Empire 66-73 AD. (German version says BC).

Hungarian translation Kristóf Szabó


The universal language in the ceremonial, simple hand-kiss that Tanya Ury portrays in her humorous colour photos is multi-layered. Unlike her six colleagues in the exhibition „Ambivalenzen“ (Frauen Museum Bonn & Galerie Münsterland Emsdetten (D) 2002), Ury, who was born in London and now lives in Cologne, concerns herself intensively with the people around her. The extensive Photo and Text series (Hermes Insensed) points to a close interweaving of her personal and artistic life: she asked friends and colleagues to greet one another with a “hand kiss”, to court and to reconcile themselves with one another; then she photographed them. It was up to those invited how they represented themselves – whether it was with a sense of irony, frankness, sarcasm or masochism. Tanya Ury has additionally written and presented fictitious letters, or diary notes that throw a wholly new and independent light on the photographed situations.

Schayan (translation from German Tanya Ury) ‘Deutschland’ Oct-Nov 2002