The work of Anneliese Schrenk is based primarily on the material leather. She creates images of hides, of thick, tanned cow hides, on which the scars, the swellings, the meridians of the living bodies are still subtly visible. The leather that she uses are rejected hides. These hides have too many blemishes for the production of Learjet seats, luxury handbags or shoes. They have been discarded due to natural features of the animal or processing errors during manufacturing. Therefore, lines, grooves, scratches and holes run through the imagery of Anneliese Schrenk. Mounted on stretchers – thus adopting the concept of painting – the artist presents skin: The former living material is declared a work of art.
In her new series „Portraits“, Schrenk uses three simple cuts to arrange catchy human facial expressions with the skin of slaughtered cattle. With her emoticon-like faces, the artist also addresses the incoherence of archaic levels of meaning between animals and humans. Ironically and full of desperate amusement, oversized human faces smile from the exhibition walls. The face of mankind, masterfully shaped from industrially processed animal hide, suspects that there must be a deficiency in this world. „Basically, the dot-dash-face is a sign that everyone recognizes, no matter which culture. In the traditional sense, a mask gave people the opportunity to transform themselves into something or someone else. In ceremonies and rituals, a spiritual, superior power was often attributed to them”, says the artist and sees quite a positive aspect in the celebration of alternative truths. Critically, Schrenk‘s mask can also be considered a metaphor for the face of today‘s governments. The large-scale misdirection of global citizens, which, in light of the quality of de-democratizing strategies of irritation in media and world politics, helplessly asks: Should we cry or laugh?
The installational objects constructed of wire hangers, aluminium-cast coat hooks, various fishhooks, scraping bells from the meat-processing industry and fishing rods seem both delicate, but also very brutal. They investigate and document the ambivalent aesthetics of the homo sapiens at the interface of fashionable or fetishizing humans to hunters and butchers. In the work titled „Untitled (Kettenhandschuh)“, Schrenk refers to instruments used in slaughterhouses for meat processing, while other works show equipment and objects used for animal taming such as chains, rods or panic hooks, that could equally be found in the human practice of sadomasochism. Thus the works question the current state of our communal coexistence. The installation „Room 1022“ shows an abandoned guest bed. The artist leaves an ambivalent image here made of a tent-like structure sketched with leather stripes and old, wild mattresses, that ask the question of who could have lived in this camp, and under which circumstances.
The exhibition lets the visitors come into contact with a seductive leather haptic as part of multisensory artworks. With Portrait und Hinterzimmer, Schrenk creates an artistic laboratory, that questions the levels of meaning and value between humans and animals.