Opening Reception: 6pm – 8pm
Scott White Contemporary Art is pleased to present Stranger than Paradise, an
exhibition of approximately 25 photographs by German photographer Stefanie
Schneider. Each piece was hand-selected by Scott White to create a capsule-collection
of her works that will serve as a retrospective for the artist. It is also Schneider’s 1st solo
showing in San Diego.
The Stranger Than Paradise show at Scott White Contemporary Art features a selection
of photographs that are also found in Schneider’s book of the same name. Released in
2006, the book was the first complete overview of works by Stefanie Schneider. Scott
White has curated the exhibition by selecting important pieces from each series, which
are showcased in the book. Therefore, the show represents a glimpse into the Director’s
personal relationship with each piece, offering an insightful collection that serves as a
definitive retrospective of the artist’s career.
Schneider uses expired Polaroid film that creates an instant-antiquing of her work - with
a retro B-movie aesthetic of discolored film. Among motel signs from the 50s, palm trees
against the blue sky, candy-colored limousines, a gas station in the middle of nowhere,
we find young people who seem oddly lost and vacant-eyed.
This is Stefanie Schneider’s first solo showing in San Diego, CA.
About the Artist
Stefanie Schneider (born 1968 in Cuxhaven) is a German photographer who lives in
Berlin and Los Angeles. Schneider is known for using expired Polaroid instant film
material to achieve a distinct style of washed-out saturation and random chemical
explosions of color spreading across her surfaces. This medium undermines the
photograph's commitment to produce the memorable characters that exist within
Schneider’s hazy dreamscapes. Like flickering sequences of old b-movies, Schneider's
images seem to capture the fleeting instant just before conclusions can be made - their
ephemeral reality suggestive of mysterious motives and uncertainty. Schneider's images
refuse to succumb to reality; they keep alive the confusions of dream, desire, fact, and
fiction. Her medium combined with her preferred choice of location, the American West,
and focus on chronicling a loosely guided plotline through sequential images in a
“group,” evoke the impression of faded film stills.
Each series weaves together a story line and is a distinct body of work that is instantly eye-catching. Schneider’s focus on the Southwest, specifically the deserts of Southern
California, imparts an anonymity and isolation to these narratives. It is where the vacant
wasteland of suburbia meets desert habitation that is often captured in Schneider’s work.
There are certain running sub themes that remain constant - including traveling on the
road with a feeling of directionless wandering. Structures and objects become
characters and props that make repeat appearances in her work: the gas station, the
automobile, the motel, the highway, the revolver, lost signage, the isolated train track
and the trailer park. They serve as the reoccurring backdrop in front of which human
characters and events are then thrust. Sometimes using actresses, friends, her sister,
colleagues or lovers, Schneider stands by to watch and capture the chance events as
they unfold. Even when she is a participant in front of the camera of her photo-novels,
she leaves much to chance. It is the ability to wait and capture an unpredictable set of
circumstances that marks the development of her work over the last eight years. Her use
of expired film only adds to the element of chance, but also gives the project a gritty seal
of authenticity - if these were real people they would have left no record of themselves.
There is no script, and none is necessary – Schneider’s characters drink, make love in
nameless hotels, stalk the desert under blinding sun, dance and carouse, and endlessly
move on. The images say more the longer you look at them, calling out from what looks
like a perpetual time warp, an illusion of carelessness that somehow harnesses infinity.
Schneider's work is internationally exhibited in galleries and private collections and
released in books and exhibition catalogs. Stefanie Schneider holds a MFA in
photography from the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany. Schneider, a Germanborn,
absorbed this milieu in old American cinema and studiously arranged these
images to appear off-hand, off-beat.
Schneider’s work is celebrated internationally with representation in Berlin, New York,
and San Diego. Her artistic process and vision has captured the attention of international
collectors and museums, including the Kunstmuseum Cottbus in Cottbus. Additionally,
she has collaborated with Hollywood actors and directors, such as Ewan McGregor and
Naomi Watts for the film Stay. Her stills are incorporated into the film, giving the scenes
emotional and artistic intensity. Other collaborations have been with music industry
greats Cindy Lauper and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, creating album cover art for both.
Stefanie Schneider received her MFA in Communication Design at the Folkwang Schule
Essen, Germany. Her work has been shown at the Museum for Photography,
Braunschweig, Museum für Kommunikation, Berlin, the Institut für Neue Medien,
Frankfurt, the Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden, Kunstverein Bielefeld, Museum für
Moderne Kunst Passau, Les Rencontres d'Arles, Foto -Triennale Esslingen.
Scott White Contemporary Art is located at 7655 Girard Avenue Ste. 101 in La Jolla, CA. It is
open: Tues – Fri, 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. Sat, 11:00 – 5:00 p.m. The phone number is: 858-