Stefanie Schneider, Galerie Michael Zink , Munich

Oct 5, 2019 10:18PM

Review by Sabine Dorothée Lehner in Flash Art, May / June 2002. p.138

Stefanie Schneider's new photographic works tell disturbing stories about her adopted Californian home. She seeks out faded American myths and distils auratically charged reality in a very personal and surprising way. She uses out-of-date Polaroid film, and the blemishes caused by the degenerated film stock, - are included in the composition in a painterly way. Exposure mistakes and low budget movie effects are combined to alienating effect. Everything shimmers and flickers before our eyes. The artist plays with the authentic poetry of the amateur, mixing strangely dreamy staging with random photochemical events.

Alaska (Stranger than Paradise) Galerie Zink, Munich

In the 16-part work Frozen, which is characterized by a strangely transcendent mood in the lighting, film-still-like pictorial clusters come together to form a mysterious story, with the artist herself as the lonely protagonist. the aesthetic is reminiscent of early Lynch films. The components of the elliptically choreographed events are scenes from an enchanted, gleaming winter landscape, together with "staged snapshots" of a pale young woman in her underskirts, who radiates the troubled reality of a mirage with her sleep walking presence. The story is presented in the manner of cinematic flashbacks or dream sequences. Stage blood and a knife are used to evoke a crime of passion whose surreal attractiveness is derived from the scenic openess of what is shown. The deliberate use of old instant picture stock establishes in a richly faceted way the ephemeral quality of vulnerability and transience within a reality that is brittle from the outset.

Primary Colors (Stranger than Paradise) Galerie Zink, Munich

The American Stars and Stripes, recently updated as the absolute epitome of a patriotic signifier, is the subject of the 9-part work Primary Colors (2001). Schneider's reassuringly European view, free of undue emotion, presents the Stars and Stripes motif in a strangley alienated form: she shows stills with phases of fluttering violently in the wind, even torn in some cases, and the poor film stock emphazises the fragility of the icon even more.

(translated from German by Michael Robinson)