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Long Way Home, triptych - Limited Edition 1 of 30 Photograph

Stefanie Schneider

United States

Photography, Polaroid on Other

Size: 43.3 W x 15 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

Long Way Home (triptych) 38x36cm each, Edition of 30 not mounted, signature label and certificate. Berlin based artist Stefanie Schneider enlarges expired Polaroid stock into burned-out C-prints. The lossy images almost completely dissolve into lurid color abstractions. The shiny pink of a sex kitten's glittery body suit becomes an electrified, free-floating color field. The vivid, flame-orange hair of a 70's sexploitation film star vibrates against the dusty gray of the sky above an LA desert. Skin tones and facial details in the figures are completely lost. They are refugees from Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, doomed to aimlessly wander in a burned out celluloid limbo. Schneider's process is one of reflexive inversion. She stages her scenes and shoots them with expired Polaroid film, producing a decayed positive. The decay keeps the image from being a true positive, creating a hybrid: a positive with negative traits: burned out light values, super saturated colors, lost information. The Polaroid is then re-photographed, producing a negative. This negative, one imagines, is more compelling than the finished work. It must be filled with a deep, rich darkness and luminous color. The negative enlarges and duplicates the original Polaroid as a C-print, preserving the decay as an archival photograph. Schneider's process creates a circuit between ideas of preservation and decay. Her work emerges from the loop unsettled. The final C-prints are windows into a fluctuating limbo. They depict actors and environments neither here nor there; neither completely fictional nor completely real, and the information needed to make a decision in this regard is lost; burned away. The viewer is left sifting through broken artifacts and assembling scraps of imagery. The strength of this work is the opportunity it provides the viewer. Although the decayed images are visually unsatisfying, they are cognitively spacious. The burned out highlights are also blank areas in which the observer can re-build lost narratives. Schneider eschews the authoritative power of the art object and instead prolongs the life of damaged, uncertain images. The figures themselves seem to cling to existence through pure, unabated, fashion-conscious ferocity. Instead of possessing a complex, human identity, they are reduced to flattened neon hyper-vixens baring their teeth and their substantial cleavage in the scathing sun of a SoCal desert. They brandish squirt guns as sexual weaponry and sneer behind gigantic insectoid sun glasses. The stupid brutality of these misguided archetypes of feminine power is eased by the delicacy of their disappearance. They are images of vaguely remembered freaked-out alter egos, the noble heroes of Gloria Steinem's too-much-pizza-and-beer nightmares. Often, our nightmares are the best remembered. Pleasant dreams mix too easily with sleep. Nightmares are dislocating. We toss and turn and separate our mind into a dreaming part and a part that is strangely aware. Questions generated by a partition of consciousness float through the dream experience itself. "Am I dreaming now?" We hear this even as we are in the midst of performing some alien task within the storyline of the dream, and somehow, we accept the schism. Schneider operates within this gap. Are these photographs of photographs real photographs? Is Schneider's final product simply an archive of the source Polaroid? Her costumed actors recreate scenes from D-grade 70's sexploitation films. Schneider wraps these unconvincing fictions in yet another layer of fiction, and we are unable to sustain whatever small suspension of disbelief we had engaged watching Faster Pussycat. This is Schneider's true subject. What happens when fictions evaporate? What traces are left after the disappearance of something whose ties to the real were tenuous to begin with? What do ghosts turn into when they die? Schneider recreates and decays fictions that perhaps weren't worth preserving in the first place, as a negative of a negative. - Isaac Peterson

Details & Dimensions

Multi-paneled Photography:Polaroid on Other

Artist Produced Limited Edition of:30

Size:43.3 W x 15 H x 0.1 D in

Number of Panels:2

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Stefanie Schneider lives and works in the High Desert of California. Stefanie Schneider's scintillating situations take place in the American West. Situated on the verge of an elusive super-reality, her photographic sequences provide the ambience for loosely woven story lines and a cast of phantasmic characters. Schneider works with chemical mutations of expired Polaroid film stock. Chemical explosions of color spreading across the surfaces undermine the photograph's commitment to reality and induce her characters into trance-like dream-scapes. Like flickering sequences of old road movies Schneider's images seem to evaporate before conclusions can be made - their ephemeral reality manifesting in subtle gestures and mysterious motives. Schneider's images refuse to succumb to reality, they keep alive the confusions of dream, desire, fact, and fiction. She is currently working on the 29 PALMS, CA. 29 PALMS, CA is a feature film / art piece that explores and chronicles the dreams and fantasies of a group of individuals who live in a trailer community in the Californian desert. A defining feature of the film is the use of still images and the use of voice over. Characters talk to us / themselves / you about their ambitions, memories, hopes, fears and dreams. The film is to be shot using a mix of super 8 and 16mm film stock and Polaroid images. Certain computer-generated effects will also be used to enhance the films surreal mood and to animate its dark humor. Radha Mitchell, Marc Forster, Udo Kier, Max Sharam among others are participating in the project. Stefanie Schneider received her MFA in Communication Design at the Folkwang Schule Essen, Germany. Her work has been shown at the Museum for Photography, Braunschweig, Museum für Kommunikation, Berlin, the Institut für Neue Medien, Frankfurt, the Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden, Kunstverein Bielefeld, Museum für Moderne Kunst Passau, Les Rencontres d'Arles.

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Artist featured in a collection

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