Night On Earth
Catalog essay by Ralf Christofori
Stefanie Schneider's photographs are reminiscent of scintillating situations located on the edge between daydreams and sleeping dreams. All of the scenes she has shot in the South West of the USA seem surreally enraptured, and the artist herself seems only to act inasmuch as she gives the decisive impulse. The people who are photographed are no more tangible than the motives for their activities or the storylines of the photo sequences.
Atmospheric disturbances are in Stefanie Schneider's work the result of a narrative arrangement, which forces the viewer in between visual mementos and gaps in memories. But simultaneously the artist is working no less purposefully with media, and although their own momentum is calculable, the material that is introduced is largely uncontrollable: the best-before date on the Polaroid film pack has long since expired; the photo-chemical self-developing process takes the exposure and alienates.
This dysfunction is a fundamental element in the artist's work Mind Screen, which consists of several parts. She confronts the brittleness of the real, the genuine and the comprehensible with a magical realism dipped in chimaeras to produce dreamlike sequences. And she leaves the content of a presumed storyline up to the viewer. There is no user's manual here for people to follow: in its place, everything succumbs to the draw of these unreal, shimmering scenes, the Fata Morgana of a road movie, an act of violence or a tragic self-sacrifice. Film genres are brought in and taken away in the same breath. Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas turns out to have been shot through a rose-tinted lens, Thelma and Louise proves to be a popular ditty about a heroic mass mobilisation, whilst The Good, the Bad and the Ugly mutually destroy themselves. Things shimmer and flicker before our eyes: we are unable to step out of this dream, nor are we able to verify it.