UNDER A BLOOD PINK SKY: Reinisch Contemporary presents Christoph Schmidberger

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Reinisch Contemporary’s first solo exhibition dedicated to the Austrian artist Christoph Schmidberger presents some of his most recent coloured-pencil drawings, the majority specifically created for this event. The superficial idyll and brilliant realism of Schmidberger’s works reveal, on second glance, an unsettling world where the everyday and the cruel combine to form a fathomless meta-level.

Christoph Schmidberger, Reinisch Contemporary, contemporary art, Austrian art, new art from Austria, Günther Holler-Schuster, exhibition opening, art show, Graz, Austria, vernissage, under a blood pink sky, photo realism, coloured pencil drawing

UNDER A BLOOD PINK SKY features a selection of recent coloured-pencil drawings by Christoph Schmidberger.

High-strung emotions, sultry eroticism and taboos – recently broken or about to be – determine the atmosphere of these works.

Günther Holler-Schuster, curator of UNDER A BLOOD PINK SKY:

The artist – who only just swapped the glamorous world of Hollywood and California’s ‘endless summer’ for the alpine solitude of rural Austria – presents images that appear to have sprung from the hedonism of the 1990s. Under the radiant Californian sun, memories get bleached out. Glaring light mercilessly reveals all yet still shrouds the abyss into which daily life is about to plunge, or rather, out of which its protagonists appear to have risen. High-strung emotions, sultry eroticism and taboos – recently broken or about to be – determine the atmosphere of these works. A taboo marks the point where erotic energy coalesces and reaches a new quality, thought Georges Bataille. In the moment of beauty, tragedy makes itself felt.”

The scenes of Christoph Schmidberger’s drawings are seemingly taken from everyday life. Teenagers, children, landscapes, flowers, religious kitsch objects – usually represented in dazzling light – form the key elements in these ostensibly idyllic accounts of the oh-so ordinary. But Schmidberger’s images often emerge from intense photo sessions, in which the artist meticulously constructs the scenes. Clichéd notions, originating just as much in inflationary media and advertising visuals as the common image patterns of a generalised, private-snapshot aesthetic or art history’s familiar visual concepts.

It is certainly not the visible world that the artist intends to depict. Rather, his images breed another, particular form of life. Like the superficial lustre of Schmidberger’s works, which often crumbles in its fragmented presentation, his sceneries tend to tilt into an enigmatic reality that remains in the realm of the imaginary. The religious component adds to the romanticisation of the scenes, making Schmidberger’s realism appear magical.

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Reinisch Contemporary
since: 01/2012
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