After the initial viewing, the spectator is invited to allow their gaze, like light striking the surface of water, to bend with the surface of the canvas and immerse itself in the silence of the work and the silence of the model

(Dominique de Font-Réaulx)

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is delighted to present Austrian artist Markus Schinwald’s second solo exhibition at its Salzburg gallery.

Through his protean work, Schinwald explores a range of media such as video, drawing, sculpture and installations to shape a world that enables a dialogue between theatre, sociology, philosophy, psychology and even fetishism.

As part of his pictorial creation process, Markus Schinwald uses old paintings, most of which date back to the Biedermeier period, which he alters by adding incongruous elements such as prostheses or gadgetries. With this iconoclastic gesture, the artist creates a timeless piece that does not, or no longer, correspond to a particular aesthetic style of one time periode. With each exhibition Schinwald takes the viewer through an initiation journey as the experience is not only visual but also charged with physical empathy.

The exhibition presents a variety of large-scale paintings as well as several installations mimicking machines in motion.

Schinwald’s large pictures break away from his older works, where the focus was mostly on the painted faces and prosthetic devices. Here the characters have freed themselves from their restricting implements and apparently relieved themselves from a psychological burden. They enter a different composition as the very scale of the canvas gives each figure the size of an almost anecdotal statuette. The monochrome background removes any narrative, iconographic or temporal anchor, revealing a mysterious setting out of which only hints of geometric shapes, materials, reflections or nuances emerge. Here is a shift in Markus Schinwald’s usual repertoire: the prosthesis is no longer representational; it becomes contextual and conceptual. The psychological shackles are no longer embodied in the identifiable physical object as they take a more abstract form through a composition that recreates the conditions of mental confinement.

This phenomenon occurs simultaneously in the artist’s installations. His machines make use of the mechanism of historical clockwork. With their continuous motion they are evocative of a repetitive choreography. The cogwheels, the cylindrical coulmn’s mechanical organ and the wooden furniture are substitutes for the legs and joints of the puppets that we see in Markus Schinwald’s previous works. Beyond these mechanisms, the artist limits his latest objects to the basic geometric shape of the rectangle. This rectangle becomes an outline and as such they evoke the theme of the window introducing an interplay between solid and void, creating a symbolic dialogue between inside and outside, introspection and extroversion.

In 2007, Markus Schinwald exhibited at the Tate Modern London as part of the group exhibition The World as a Stage. In 2008, he had a solo exhibition at the Migros Museum in Zurich. Three years later, he represented Austria at the 54th Venice Biennale, a turning point in his career. In 2013, he had interconnected solo exhibitions at the CAPC in Bordeaux and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Last year, he had a solo exhibition at the M-Museum Leuven, Belgium as well as at the Magasin III in Stockholm, Sweden.