To Dwell in the World: Impressions from Sophie Schmidt’s WorksBy Marita Liebermann for Sophie Schmidt
To Dwell in the World: Impressions from Sophie Schmidt’s Works
How can a human being find a home in the world? If being is not a privately owned residence that you can always enter through the same door, but rather resembles changing apartments which you repeatedly move in? In Sophie Schmidt’s works, the question about becoming homely in life speaks: a search which is a physical process as much as it is an activity of the mind. Both motions meet again and again in stories which partly seem to precede them and partly seem to succeed them. It is difficult to say if the work begins with language or if the narratives are the beginning, such as the one about the radicchio woman or the Venice birds; or if the work commences with the colors and shapes in which such beings materialize on the canvas, or, maybe, it is the body of the artist beginning the journey first. However, the dense entanglement of the media by way of which she gets in touch with her situationally changeable environment appears to be more important. She creates points of contact that she feels by narrating, painting or, equally, through her performances and installations. In this process, materiality and immateriality blend. Just like her paintings are alive, her performances, in turn, are not merely encounters with space. When she extends her limbs with radicchio leaves or integrates her body in an object (as recently, in the newspaper rack during the performance in the Venetian palazzo) she explores connection points exceeding what is touchable with our hands. Therefore, Sophie Schmidt’s interactions with places and objects create veritable fields of force and her explorations of the world apartment emanate an energy that she communicates the observer. That is why she could take Venice with her to Taipei.
Translation Ulla Stackmann