For her latest publication, Typology of Women, German-born, Hamptons-based mixed-media artist Bastienne Schmidt (born 1961) has created a series of hand-painted orange cutouts of different types of women as they have been represented in different historical periods, in popular culture and in literature. The clarifying, codifying logic of the typology—the systematic classification of types that have characteristics in common—is undermined by Schmidt’s spare, enigmatic silhouettes. Referencing ancient Greek pottery, Japanese woodcuts, American pop culture and fairy tales, Schmidt’s figures are vaguely familiar and recognizably female but often seem to dodge exact classification. Also inspired by the rigorous systematic method of Bernd and Hilla Becher and the politics of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, Typology of Women expresses both the reduction of the represented female form and its almost infinite diversity.
In Topography of Quiet, the internationally acclaimed German-born, New York–based photographer Bastienne Schmidt (born 1961) uses painting, drawing and photography to explore the patterns and typologies of nature. Her color and black-and-white photographs of ocean tides and patterns in sand and water are juxtaposed with other landscape scenes in which some small gesture of human activity or intervention is apparent--a hose floating on water, a pyramid in silhouette, tire marks, agricultural demarcations, white lines on a soccer field. These photographs, taken in locations around the world, are further augmented with delicate, complex paintings and drawings that underscore the subtlety of Schmidt’s eye. As the book’s title indicates, an expansive serenity permeates these works, which gently pursue and embrace the co-existence of the natural and the man-made.
German-born photographer Bastienne Schmidt (born 1961, now resident in the U.S.) challenges the popular idyll of household as private utopia with her Home Stills series. Posing in the role of lone housewife, and staging her works exclusively in Long Island, the artist recapitulates disconcertingly familiar scenarios excerpted from daytime TV. Following Highway 27 across Long Island from Patchogue to Easthampton, Schmidt recreates her interiors--from cheap motel rooms to upscale mansions--as imaginary rooms of her own, performing a dystopian twist on Virginia Woolf's eponymous idea of a feminist haven. Recalling the work of Cindy Sherman, Schmidt draws on such diverse visual influences as the films of Wim Wenders and the paintings and prints of Hokusai, Sigmar Polke, Jan Vermeer and Edward Hopper, to portray the alienated social contracts of a world of suburban fragmentation and loneliness.
Published by Jovis. Essays by Andrian Kreye and Hanns Zischler.
Germany is no easy country to sum up in 80 images. Yet, photographer Bastienne Schmidt--who has been living in New York since 1988--has done just that. Presented here is her trip with a camera through the country of her birth. The award-winning artist has discovered a severe, dark, and sometimes bizarre, place; it all looks somewhat strange and at the same time familiar through her lens. The photographs, which have a great suggestive power, turn the completely ordinary into a seemingly strange and different world. With portraits of people and places that exude a certain distance, unusual perspectives (crisp twin beds with peaked pillows) and extraordinary details (a soccer field seen through the net of the goal), Schmidt takes the viewer on a provocative journey through Germany's past and present. ShadowHome is simultaneously a tribute and a hard, critical and loving look at a country--and what it means to return home.