Zeitgeber & Meme

Zeitgeber: a cue given by the environment to reset the internal body clock.
Meme: an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The ubiquitous Aurel Schmidt







The first time we realized that Aurel Schmidt’s media presence would be chronic was months ago. At our favourite magazine spot, amongst the numerous overdone magazines lying on the shelves, the simplicity of the June 2009 cover of Border Crossings appealed to us. A nouveau-genre smiley of half-eaten doughnuts and a bunch of cigarette butts was staring intensely. A strong media magnet was underlying the representation; a future favourite of the cultural set was hiding behind the cover.





Nowadays, it seems that one can’t go through a magazine without stumbling on the ever-present artist Aurel Schmidt. This month only, a glimpse at our favourite magazines made us feel like members of Schmidt’s fan club. Tokion, AnOther magazine and Purple all graced us with features implying the Canadian-born NY-based artist. Happily for us, we kind of like her irreverent and slightly trash media persona. Schmidt is part of something greater than the visual art field. She’s now part of our media visual culture, her opinions are valued («AnOther thing I wanted to tell you» on Spank Rock) and her persona glorified. But can we draw a line between her art and her mediated life? Not really. Her art extends from canvases to her own representation in the media culture. The interrelations between her self-representations and her art are strong. The resulting mingle leaves us mystified and unable to decide of a definite border between the art and the artist.

Although art historians would damn us for such a statement, we consider that she uses the media as a platform to perform relational art. An artist of Bourriaud’s esthétique relationelle? No! They open Indian restaurants and «double clubs», they’re not simply portrayed on glossy paper. But we strongly think that the media induces a connection between the content and the viewer in a two-sided relation of reception and retroaction. As Warhol proved decades ago and Matthieu Laurette more recently, a media sphere intervention by an artist is intrinsically linked to his art and practice. For these reasons, we can’t consider the media presence of Aurel Schmidt as a collection of simple features, but rather as an art that went from its traditional form to the street, and then, to the magazine. 







Inspired by the themes explored in her paintings, she took the street as a medium and created an in-situ installation (Deep Throat) made of empty beer cans, cigarette butts and other patterns frequent in her artworks. Purple Fashion magazine then photographed Schmidt dressed in her favourite artistic themes for their Spring-Summer 2009 issue. The spread shows a daring Schmidt in the midst of several distinctive objects recalling her art: necklaces made of doughnuts or cigarettes, beer cans, etc. This embodiment of her practice for a photo shoot is not only a fine concept, but also a statement on the inseparability of her media persona and her art. Indeed, Purple reaffirms that Schmidt’s media presence is a medium for her artistic practice. By doing so, they also imply that her body is a canvas for her artworks’ subjects and themes. 





This new signification of the artist’s body, not far from the issues tackled by the post human movement, involves that Purple’s conceives Schmidt’s body as a space of artistic significance. An assertion reinforced by Purple’s last issue (Fall-Winter 2009), where Schmidt’s tattoo (a garter snake) is analyzed through an interview with the artist.

Olivier Zahm: Are there snakes in your artworks?

Aurel Schmidt: In my older work I drew a lot of snakes.

Our answer: From the canvas, to the street. And from the magazine to her body, Aurel Schmidt’s art is multiform. Are there snakes in her artwork? Yes, whether they are drawn on paper or tattooed on her skin. 





Pictures (in order):
Purple Fashion magazine, Spring-summer 2009 - Vol. III, Issue 11
Aurel Schmidt, Burn outs, tinyvices.com
Aurel Schmidt, Deep Throat, tinyvices.com
Purple Fashion magazine, Spring-summer 2009 - Vol. III, Issue 11
Purple Fashion magazine, Fall-winter 2009 - Vol. III, Issue 12

1 comment:

  1. awesome pictures. Esp the last one! Thanks for sharing.

    xxx
    Gi
    http://glam623.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

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