Galerie Parrotta Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the two solo exhibitions “New York City – Ghosts and Flowers“ by Edgar Leciejewski and „The American Series I – XII“ by Oskar Schmidt. Both exhibitions focus on highly relevant issues of our social constitution: Edgar Leciejewski points to phenomena of a constant shift of boundaries between public and private in his pictures. Oskar Schmidt, in light of the current economic and financial crisis, explores photographies by Walker Evans. Those stand emblematic for the misery of the rural population during the Great Depression in America in the 1930s.
Edgar Leciejewski’s new works comprises a series of large sized pictures showing seemingly ghost-like pedestrians on the streets of New York – blow-ups of the Internet service “Google Street View”. During his stay in New York, the artist – using this procedure – chose the very medium that transforms distance into closeness that transforms one’s own closeness to an object back to a photographical distance.
Google’s camera vans fan out on sunny days and at times when the streets should be as deserted by people as possible. If it happens that someone still walks into the picture, an image recognition software automatically blurs the face. It is exactly these supposedly de-identified people – sources of irritation with „Google Street View“ – who turn into the actual protagonists in Leciejewski’s pictures. These people have no idea about their being captured in a picture permanently available on the Internet. And they also don’t know that Leciejewski accentuates them in monumental works of art. The privacy protection has been adhered to with regards to the blurred faces but they themselves as well as people who know them will be able to recognise them on these pictures without a doubt.
The Google algorithm complies with buildings, not with people who – as Adriano Sack logically remarks – become "homme trouvés" in the pictures. Their appearance on „Google Street View“ is random, their appearance in Leciejewski’s works, however, is the product of a precise artistic selection.
Oskar Schmidt presents his latest work titled “The American Series I – XII”. In this, he creates new portrayals of selected photographs by Walker Evans – today part of the cultural memory – in a two-pronged way. To do this, he set up life-sized settings in his studio, with which he produced detailed remakes of Walker Evans’ pictorial compositions. A weathered wooden wall with worn aluminium tableware or an old chair in front of it, various details of a modest wooden hut or a piece of torn hardwood floor with battered everyday objects can be found in the pictures. Oskar Schmidt depicts these minimalist and deserted stagings with invariable light conditions.
Oskar Schmidt’s photographs are quotation and construct at the same time ¬– here, gradual shifts in perspective and objects force the characteristic of the designed results compared with their drafts.
Schmidt’s works point to pivotal questions of photography such as authenticity and authorship while at the same time dealing with their elemental basic requirements: light and shadow.
Along with the media-reflecting approach gained through the process of annexation, Walker Evans’ photos meet with a re-contextualisation. In this historical dimension, Oskar Schmidt’s pictures – in spite of their fascinating calm and contemplative beauty – leave us with thoughts about the possible effects of our current social situation at the same time.
Edgar Leciejewski (*1977) studied dramatics at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle and at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Leipzig. His works were presented in a solo exhibition at the Stadtmuseum Munich, Germany, as well as numerous group exhibitions, among others at Kunsthalle Wien, Austria or Kunstraum Witte de With in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Alongside to the exhibition at Galerie Parrotta, further works from the series „Ghost and Flowers“ are displayed at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. Reviews of his works were featured in an artist portrait on ARTE and publications „Himmel ohne Wolken“ (2011) und „NYC – Ghosts and Flowers“ (2011).
Oskar Schmidt (*1977) studied at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle and at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Leipzig. His works were presented at the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts (2011), Germany, at the Zabludowicz Collection in London (2010), UK, Art Collection der Deutschen Börse in Frankfurt (2010), Germany, Goethe Institut in Washington (2010), USA, Kunsthalle Rostock (2009) and at C/O Berlin (2009) and are currently displayed at the Zabludowicz Collection in New York.