27. Oct. 2012 – 22. Dec. 2012

Dust Bowl Years: Oskar Schmidt

Dust Bowl Years: Oskar Schmidt, Installation View, SCHEUBLEIN+BAK, Limmatstrasse 275, Zurich, 2012


Scheublein Fine Art is opening a second exhibition space at the house “Zur Limmat” in the area opposite the Löwenbräu Cultural Center. In addition to the site-specific permanent hangings at Sihlberg Castle, the second space in Limmatstrasse will provide a showroom for regularly changing solo and group exhibitions. “Dust Bowl Years” inaugurates this new location with a solo presentation by the Berlin based artist Oskar Schmidt.

Oskar Schmidt will present a selection of his latest The American Series I - XII for the first time in Switzerland.

For several years now Oskar Schmidt has been staging settings with figures, objects and rooms for his carefully composed photographs. The arrangements are reduced to their essence in order to build a detailed composition. In his latest series The American Series he even reduces the colors to genuine black/white photography. The starting point for this body of work are icons of photography and art history: The pictures Walker Evans took during the Great Depression of the 1930s in the United States. Evans was travelling on a governmental contract through the USA to document the aftermath of the economic crisis and the social misery, but ultimately to visualize the arguments against the failure of America.

It is a mixture of appropriation and re-enactment which Oskar Schmidt practices when he rebuilds the background scenery of Evans’ pictures 75 years later and photographs them with his large-format camera. From weather-beaten wood to the artifacts of a spartan life to even the delicate dust of a dust bowl, these new images seem to resemble the American originals.

Yet they are reconstructions in the artist’s studio. Studio sets which in comparison to their predecessors include a variation in the arrangement and thus also offer a glimpse at the construction of history itself. By the repetition of historical images Oskar Schmidt discards the promises of authenticity of photography and constructs new images equaling their alleged originals. (Thilo Scheffler)

Oskar Schmidt (*1977) studied photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig and was a master student of Prof. Timm Rautert. Since 2001 Schmidt has been exhibiting widely in solo and group exhibitions in Berlin, Barcelona, London, Munich, Hamburg, New York and Zurich. Oskar Schmidt’s works have lately been shown at SØR Rusche Sammlung at the Museum Abtei Liesborn (2012), at Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig (2011), in the Art Collection of the Deutsche Börse (2010) as well as in solo exhibitions at C/O Berlin (2009), at the Kunsthalle Rostock (2009) and the Kunsthalle Bremen (2005). Currently his works are exhibited at Sammlung Reydan Weiss and at the Zabludowicz Collection in New York. His work is also represented in major public and private collections through Europe and USA. Oskar Schmidt lives and works in Berlin.

An exhibition catalogue with an essay by Prof. Dr. Bettina Gockel (University Zurich) is accompanying the exhibition.

The gallery will be open during the gallery weekend on 27 / 28 October, Saturday and Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm.