Major exhibition of internationally renowned artist Gabriele Schnitzenbaumer opens at Eden Art Space Gallery Seychelles
Gabriele Schnitzenbaumer has a long relationship with the Seychelles, spending some time each year on Mahe creating paintings and small sculptures. This exhibition, which opens on February 20th and runs until March 15th, gives residents and visitors a unique opportunity to engage with an internationally acclaimed artist at the peak of her powers.
The paintings present a surreal world, as if a series of bizarre dreams have been nailed to the canvas. The compositions are crammed with the unlikely, the impossible and the beautiful. Human forms are everywhere, alongside animal mutations and strange and blotched alien landscapes. They are undeniably bold and present a panorama of possible interpretations, by turns humorous, terrifying, sexy and seductive.
The sculptures are, for logistical reasons, much smaller than the works for which the artist is best known in Europe. They are intense forms, created from found objects, ceramic forms and shaped metal. Once again the human form – particularly the face – is everywhere. We find strident little sentinels alongside stretched and distended puppet forms. The head, often isolated as in a mask, presents simplified versions of ourselves and, in common with all of the work, presents us with versions of ourselves.
Gabriele Schnitzenbaumer was a child in post-war Germany. She experienced the horror of the indiscriminate death of others. Much of her past work presented these experiences in symbolic form but more recently she has, in her own words, seen her work change over the years…becoming more humorous, more forgiving and more tender.
There is a clear distinction between the paintings and the sculptures. They are two immensely strong bodies of work created by the same creative drive but they do different things and present distinct concepts and messages.
Relatively few artists create equally important oeuvres in flat and solid forms but this is the case with Gabriele Schnitzenbaumer. Her paintings are not subordinate to her sculptures and vice versa. The two bodies of work are complementary yet very different in the sense that the paintings do not recreate or illustrate sculptures which – regardless of their size – are monumental as well as invariably monolithic in terms of their form.
When asked about the relationship between the 2D and 3D work the artist had this to say:
“I work like an architect (when creating sculpture). I have to consider the construction, the balance and stability, the proportions, etc. In the end the resulting artifact has to stand, like a building, and thus, in the further process, for me there remain only limited possibilities to change my mind.
(When painting) I do not need a safe and secure construction, everything can fly in any direction, no boundaries. I can change my mind a hundred times in the process.”
This exhibition – the second solo show by an international artist at the Eden Gallery in under a year – invites us to enter and enjoy an extraordinary and hypnotic world.
Regardless of the media or the scale, Gabriele Schnitzenbaumer’s art reflects the human condition and, like all important art, it raises questions about our public and private faces, the way in which we fertilise our realities through fantasy and imagination, our love of preposterous romance and our fear of …so many things. The works are brimful with life and love. Try not to miss them.