Anne Schneider

»Ableger / Lessening Fold«


21er Haus, Vienna

December 5, 2015 — January 17, 2016


The title of the exhibition, Ableger / Lessening Fold, makes reference to two fundamental processes in Anne Schneider’s artistic work: An »Ableger« is a cutting, taken from a plant in order to grow another— in other words, a means of propagation. Metaphorically, it represents Schneider’s processes of thinking and working. »Ableger« literally translates as »deposition« and depositing is a key component of her practice. »New conceptual connections and formations arise from depositing things. This tendency to let things rest and accumulate initially generates chaos, which I can use as a source of creativity and allows to formulate something new through the deliberate repetition of individual connections,« the artist explains. Lessening Fold refers to the formal aspect of Schneider’s work and to the creation of folds through the squeezing and compressing of volumes.
Working on and with volume is the basis of every sculptural process, be it an additive process of building something or the subtractive revelation of a sculpture through the removal of materials. Anne Schneider deploys both methods, working with materials such as wax, concrete, jute, and metal. These everyday materials afford the artist considerable freedom. Jute is generally used to make sacks to be filled with other things. Schneider uses second-hand jute, which is actually a waste material of little value. In doing so, she undermines the established hierarchy of materials. Wax, too, is an everyday material— reversible and malleable. Her hands-on approach to these materials allows her to work in an almost improvisatory fashion, whose sketchlike nature reveals the creative process to the viewer. Even when she is working with concrete, the gestures and touch are evident—not in the form of handprints but in the impressions of seams, which render the production process legible. Anne Schneider sews jute into negative forms and fills them with concrete. Normally any such moulds are made of rigid materials in order to achieve precise results. However, textile moulds are limp, which means that bulges and even folds occur as they are filled. Thus, the cast from what was once a basically geometric form can take on an organic, almost anthropomorphic aspect, its soft curves contrasting starkly with its hard material qualities.
What is more, many of Anne Schneider’s concrete objects are pink or skin-colored, which merely heightens the sense of corporeality. The organicity of these objects gives them subjectivity and character. Like living beings, they sit and stand. By contrast, another cycle of works, Bodies, bears the anthropomorphic connection in its title but not in its appearance. These are figurative objects, reminiscent of items of furniture, whose potential use references the body. Their evocative power lies in the absence of the body, while at the same time inscribing the body into the sculpture itself.
The public space of the exhibition suggests the private space of a living room. Architecture is a recurrent motif in the work of Anne Schneider, as is the notion of perception through time and motion. Two of the objects in the exhibition, for instance, are positioned like lions flanking a gateway, through which the visitor must pass only to be confronted by a black wall of wax. Privacy and intimacy are dissected and presented in the public space, yet instead of illustrating a domestic space, this configuration is the domestication of public space. Schneider counters modernism and its rationalisation of life by creating something organic and a place of respite within the White Cube.
This, then, is how Anne Schneider has conceived the exhibition: as a place for slowing down, for coming down. By focussing on everyday materials, to which she personally relates and which she handles in ordinary ways, like sewing, the artist underlines a contemplative aspect of her art. This is not so much about confrontation as about engagement. The bodily perception of the exhibition thus becomes an experience of the mind, relieving inner tensions by lessening folds.

Anne Schneider, born in 1965, lives in Vienna. Her works have been on display in the exhibitions Care at Interstate Projects in New York (2015) and Oysters with Lemon at Ventana in Brooklyn (2015), at the Minerva Gallery in Sydney (2015), at Supergood in Vienna (2015), at the Salzburger Kunstverein (2014), in anthropomorph und unähnlich at the Galerie Christine König in Vienna (2011), and in Nichts ohne den Körper at the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz (2008), among others.