Nana Petzet, born in Munich in 1962, studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts and at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (diploma 1991). Ever since her performance “Rational
Scientific Art” at the Academy in Munich (1987) - a lecture on the theory of gravity by a fictive physicist - dealing with different scientific disciplines has been at the core of her
artistic work. Her lecture “Reversion as a realization of negentropic processes on the macroscopic level” (Centre d'Art Contemporain FRI-ART, Fribourg, 1991) and her installation
“Schrödinger's Cat” (Kunstverein Hamburg, 1993 and the symposium “Transition Curve and Superelevation Ramp” University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, 1994) reflect quantum mechanics and
related worldviews based on stochastic fundamental assumptions.
In the simulated aging experiment “The Millenial Space” or short: MISA (Galerie FOE 156, Munich, 1989) and in the realistically conceived field study on the aging properties of monochrome painting “Model Test RED” (Galerie Art Acker, Berlin, 1992), the limits of scientific experimenting became visible through an exaggerated attention to detail. With the “CPR System” (Collect, Preserve, Research), a fictive counter model to the Green Dot (Grüner Punkt), Nana Petzet focused on the topic domestic waste (Sprengel Museum Hanover, 2000). In a self-experiment, she collected all the packaging waste accumulated in her 4-person household over half a year and examined its capacity for recycling ("Endurvinnslustöth nei takk", Reykjavik 1998). In a next step she inventoried this domestic waste collection for the exhibition “einräumen” (Hamburger Kunsthalle, 2000), by means of a sophisticated art inventory program called HIDA MIDAS. This method surprisingly revealed and linked two contrasting social tendencies - the general throw-away mentality and the institutional compulsion of conservation / museumization.
Her comprehensive collection of recycling objects and packaging waste material was presented in various theme exhibitions, such as “green dreams” (Kunstverein Wolfsburg, 2007) and “Zur Nachahmung empfohlen / Examples to follow“ (Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai, 2011). An invitation by the Goethe-Institut Addis Abeba in May 2011 gave Nana Petzet the opportunity to explore the culture and practice of direct recycling of packaging materials within a scarcity economy. She then exhibited her research findings under the title “Paralysed by the Recycling Paradise” at the Goethe-Institut in Addis Abeba.
Since 2006, Nana Petzet has become equally interested in animal and plant life, including behavioral research. First results in this field were shown under the title "Kaninchenethogramm Robby“ (Rabbit Ethogram Robby) in the exhibition “say it isn't so” (Weserburg, Museum for Modern Art, Bremen, 2007).
In her work “Modellbiotop Peutegrund” (Model Biotope Peutegrund), developed in the frame of the program “Art in Public Space” supported by the Hamburg Cultural Authority, Nana Petzet categorized and documented on film the flora and fauna in one of the few remaining biotopes in the port of Hamburg. Her intention behind the project was to valorize an area thus far perceived as an abandoned hazardous site and/or potential port extension area, and thus to initiate its reassessment. Carrying forward this inquiry, the work “Yamuna Sustainability Park“ was developed in the river bed of the Yamuna river in the center of New Dehli in October 2011. The project was initiated in the frame of the group exhibition curated by Till Krause (Galerie für Landschaftskunst) and Ravi Agarwal (Yamuna-Elbe project).
In the summer of 2015 Nana Petzet conducted a large scale art in public space event in the Hamburg Harbour. It was called "Lichtfalle Hamburg" which means "Light trap Hamburg" and focused on the issue of light pollution through big city events.