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SCHINWALD: The Art of Confusion « DressLab : clothes+music+art
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SCHINWALD: The Art of Confusion

Author: Luisa Bernal

Section: LAB

Date: 02.2011


Markus Schinwald (Salzburg, 1973) likes to take the viewer by the hand and lead him to a place that he thinks he already knows (a cinema seat, the interior of a house with leather armchairs and warm lighting, a hotel room, the academic portrait of an ancestor in black and white …) and, once there, let his hand go and confront him with an unexpected situation that doesn’t fit in to what’s considered possible.

Schinwald shows himself to be against whatever is labelled as normal and makes the familiar feel uncomfortable when, for example, we find a contortionist in a baffling position in said cinema seat.

Contortionists by schinwald


Or, upon approaching your typical conventional portrait you find the head of the subject displays bizarre touches that you can’t find an explanation for; or when easily recognizable features, like furniture legs, are shown in a context where there isn’t any furniture to hold up…

delia and legs by schinwald


His manipulation of the body, the costumes worn by actors and the space where they develop the action creates a mysterious, unsettling atmosphere where we begin to drop all our previous conventions in order to face the fact that anything can happen.


Solange by schinwald

It is this environment, which is both implausible and appealing in equal measures, which provides the common denominator in his work, regardless of whether the discipline he chooses to represent it is an installation, a video, a human-size puppet or a digitally manipulated image.


Markus, you started studying fashion design, how was your transition from this to the art you make nowadays?
I made the decision to go into fashion really early – I was only fourteen when I went to technical highschool for fashion design. By the time I finished, I had completely lost interest in doing work seasonally. What stayed with me was a certain interest in working with the human body. In letting go of the fashion context, I was then able to work with aspects related to clothing that had nothing to do with the sewing machine.


Is there one discipline you feel more comfortable with?
Actually, no. Not just that each discipline has its own qualities, but changing fields also prevents me from becoming too skilled in one area. I see myself more as an enthusiastic dilettante.


Is there a common idea behind all your work?
I do have certain interests that remain constant, but I don’t want to become fixed on one particular subject, so I try to incorporate different ideas, different failures, and different methods.


What artists do you like to follow?
I would choose a kind of Frankenstein artist made out of pieces of Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg, and Pierre Klossowski.


Taking a look around, accompanied by the impassive characters that populate the work of this artist, is highly recommended to all those who like the kind of art that can generate feelings that provoke questions concerning the limits of reality and rationality.

Markus Schinwald will participate as an artist for the pavilion Austria at the Venice Biennale and in 2011 he’ll exhibit at the Museum Lentos in Linz, at the Kunstverein Hannover and La Conservera, the Contemporary Art Centre, Murcia.




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