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Photography: Polaroid, Color, C-type, Photo on Other.
Untitled #04 (Beachshoot), 50x50cm, Edition 1/10, 2005,
digital C-Print, Printed on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper, matte finish, based on a Polaroid, Certificate and signature label, artist Inventory No. 1445.01, not mounted
“I never remember the details of a Stefanie Schneider image, just the whole. She treads a third path between reality and dream that connects the two and truly sparks my artistic, visual freedom.” Marc Forster
Stefanie Schneider: A German view of the American West
The works of Stefanie Schneider evoke Ed Ruscha's obsession with the American experience, the richness of Georgia O'Keefe's deserts and the loneliness of Edward Hopper's haunting paintings. So how exactly did this German photographer become one of the most important artists of the American narrative of the 20th and 21st century?
Born in Germany in 1968, photographer Schneider divides her time between Berlin and Los Angeles. Her process begins in the American West, in locations such as the planes and deserts of Southern California, where she photographs her subjects. In Berlin, Schneider develops and enlarges her works.
What is most striking about Schneider's images is the colour which evokes the appearance of expired Polaroid film. Her role in preserving the use of Polaroid is one aspect of her work that has gained great respect from her contemporaries and the critics, as her work came about during a time when the Polaroid, a symbol of American photography, was on the road to extinction.
This theme of preservation and deterioration is a core part of Schneider's oeuvre. In an interview in October 2014 with Artnet, the artist explained how her own experiences of pain and loss inspire her. ''My work resembles my life: Love, lost and unrequited, leaves its mark in our lives as a senseless pain that has no place in the present.''
Schneider's subjects are often featured in apocalyptic settings: desert planes, trailer parks, oilfields, run-down motels and empty beaches, alone, or if not, not connected with one another. ''It is the tangible experience of ''absence'' that has inspired my work,'' explained Schneider.
This sense of absence runs deep through Schneider's work, the fact she even uses expired film means there is a sense of the unknown as she will not know if her subjects have been captured until she is in the dark room. Long before Valencia, Mayfair and Amaro, or any other Instagram filters, Schneider was creating this otherworldliness the image sharing network tries to create.
(Barnebys UK, May 3, 2017
Size: 18.1 W x 18.9 H x 0.1 in
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