Lot Details

LIFE’S A DREAM (The Personal World of Stefanie Schneider) by Mark Gisbourne
Projection is a form of apparition that is characteristic of our human nature, for what we imagine almost invariably transcends the reality of what we live. And, an apparition, as the word suggests, is quite literally ‘an appearing’, for what we appear to imagine is largely shaped by the imagination of its appearance. If this sounds tautological then so be it. But the work of Stefanie Schneider is almost invariably about chance and apparition. And, it is through the means of photography, the most apparitional of image-based media, that her pictorial narratives or photo-novels are generated. Indeed, traditional photography (as distinct from new digital technology) is literally an ‘awaiting’ for an appearance to take place, in line with the imagined image as executed in the camera and later developed in the dark room. The fact that Schneider uses out-of-date Polaroid film stock to take her pictures only intensifies the sense of their apparitional contents when they are realised. The stability comes only at such time when the images are re-shot and developed in the studio, and thereby fixed or arrested temporarily in space and time.
The unpredictable and at times unstable film she adopts for her works also creates a sense of chance within the outcome that can be imagined or potentially envisaged by the artist Schneider. But this chance manifestation is a loosely controlled, or, better called existential sense of chance, that which becomes pre-disposed by the immediate circumstances of her life and the project she is undertaking at the time. Hence the choices she makes are largely open-ended choices, driven by a personal nature and disposition allowing for a second appearing of things whose eventual outcome remains undefined. And, it is the alliance of the chance-directed material apparition of Polaroid film, in turn explicitly allied to the experiences of her personal life circumstances, that provokes the potential to create Stefanie Schneider’s open-ended narratives. Therefore they are stories based on a degenerate set of conditions that are both material and human, with an inherent pessimism and a feeling for the sense of sublime ridicule being seemingly exposed. This in turn echoes and doubles the meaning of the verb ‘to expose’. To expose being embedded in the technical photographic process, just as much as it is in the narrative contents of Schneider’s photo-novel exposés. The former being the unstable point of departure, and the latter being the uncertain ends or meanings that are generated through the photographs doubled exposure.
The large number of speculative theories of apparition, literally read as that which appears, and/or creative visions in filmmaking and photography are self-evident, and need not detain us here. But from the earliest inception of photography artists have been concerned with manipulated and/or chance effects, be they directed towards deceiving the viewer, or the alchemical investigations pursued by someone like Sigmar Polke. None of these are the real concern of the artist-photographer Stefanie Schneider, however, but rather she is more interested with what the chance-directed appearances in her photographs portend. For Schneider’s works are concerned with the opaque and porous contents of human relations and events, the material means are largely the mechanism to achieving and exposing the ‘ridiculous sublime’ that has come increasingly to dominate the contemporary affect(s) of our world. The uncertain conditions of today’s struggles as people attempt to relate to each other - and to themselves - are made manifest throughout her work. And, that she does this against the backdrop of the so-called ‘American Dream’, of a purportedly advanced culture that is Modern America, makes them all the more incisive and critical as acts of photographic exposure.

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  • Private Collection, Germany
  • Pickup Location: Germany
  • Shipping Dimensions: 22.84 x 22.05 in. (58.01 x 56.01 cm.)
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