Oskar Schmidt at Galerie Tobias Naehring / Leipzig, Germany

Oskar Schmidt
March 10—April 21, 2018
Galerie Tobias Naehring
Lützner Str. 98, 04177

Leipzig, Germany

single stream of water bisects two photographic works included in Oskar
Schmidt’s first solo exhibition at Galerie Tobias Naehring, tracing identical
lithe arcs with the gentleness of a sine-wave. Suspended improbably aloft in
mid-air, the liquid flows without clear directionality, lacking gravitational
coordinates. It jumps frames in one diptych, repeating itself across two
photographs like a graceful stutter.
suggests exchange, flexibility, and adaptability. To be liquid is to change
state casually, to skip borders, to live free of friction, of footprint, of
dead weight—to embody that which lacks body. Liquidity is the utopia of a
dematerialized, option-rich world in practice. And yet, liquid is the most
stubbornly corporeal of materials, too. (“What does water do for you?” suggests
Google, piping in with a question that leads, as always, to another question.
“Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids,” it answers itself.)
human body occupies two other works in this exhibition. A youthful face seen in
three-quarter profile, eyes redacted by a close cropping, floats against a
corporate baby blue background. In another diptych, two identical hands reach
towards each other across their respective frames, a sisyphean grasp at human
communion. Hands, lips, and skin take on an anonymous, waxen, tantalizing
sheen; Schmidt pauses the instant just before body becomes gestalt.
photograph is shot on a large format camera and subsequently digitally
manipulated; in one case, the image even results in a silver gelatin print,
bringing the analog and digital full circle. Schmidt stages his images in lived
space and then treats them with the toolkit of a corporate techno-optimism in
which everything can be made to feel simultaneously more, and less, real. This
depends, of course, on your ability to suspend disbelief. It was the romantic
poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who coined the term “suspension of disbelief,” and
long before the days of photoshop. He reasoned that a modicum of „human interest
and a semblance of truth“ could make an otherwise fictional scenario easily
swallowed—could make you turn, in other words, a blind eye to dramaturgy. It is
this staging that Schmidt returns to the fore.
Graf, 2018