Your slide projection "Diarios
(to you)" tells what is initially a perplexing story that brings
together unrelated elements like cowboys and Expressionist architecture.
work was made for an exhibition about the local, in contrast to
globalization. For this I tried to find places in Vienna that look as
though they were somewhere else completely, like this Expressionist
church by Fritz
Wotruba, which no one would think was a church. I’m not interested in
the church here, but in the cliché. Then there’s the cowboy, who has very
little to do with Vienna, and the crematorium
Holzmeister that could also be a Moroccan dental clinic. I’ve also
transferred many clichés onto Vienna. My film works like a poem, and a
poem doesn’t need a plot. All my films are closer to poems than to novels.
Schinwald, 1st part conditional, 2004,
Still, Courtesy Galerie Georg Kargl, Wien
And dance. The open, poetic form finds expression in certain
choreographies. You often work with dancers or include the viewer in your
installations, as in your most recent exhibition "Corridor
of Uncertainties," which can currently be seen in Munster. The
press text threatens that visitors to the installation will become prey to
an 'invisible force.' Why unsettle the viewer in this way?
don’t find the installation all that "unsettling." In Munster, there were
several coordinates while I was planning the exhibition. One was the film 1st
Part Conditional, in which a dancer collapses. That is what the floor
idea in the exhibition came from, which consists of a 15 cm-high piece of
foam covered in carpet. The foundation is uncertain, and because of this
the work takes on the character of a cave or a jumping gym for kids. You
sink into it with every step. When several people of varying age walk over
it at the same time, then older women in high-heeled shoes take smaller
steps, and young athletes take bigger steps – a kind of choreography
arises out of this. Many elements of the installation oscillate between
slapstick and something highly unpleasant. To trip once can be annoying or
tragic, and it can hurt, but if you do it twenty times in a row, it turns
into slapstick. The playful turns up again and again in my work. It’s not
conceived as a chamber of horrors.
Markus Schinwald, Corridor of
view, Courtesy Galerie Georg Kargl, Wien
it’s a little bit like a ghost house, too. In the huge wall piece that
shows a fairy-tale forest, niches are inserted with life-sized marionettes
sitting on swings. The motif of the marionette or the automated figure
appears repeatedly in the literature of the Romantic and Enlightenment
periods as an eerie or inanimate double mirroring social existence. Do you
see yourself in the Romantic tradition?
I’m not merely
referring to Romanticism, but to the entirety of cultural history. It
might seem that way in Munster, with the marionette on the swing in this
landscape, but the work actually derives from a Rococo painting, Fragonard’s
Swing. The word "Romantic" doesn’t always convey how the Romantic
period really was.
At the same time, your performances come
across as stages for an imaginary theater. As a five year-old, you acted
as an extra in Mozart’s
Flute." What were your first experiences with theater and costume?
I think back to that time, I see myself in a black cat suit. I had to wear
the costume for many years – in varying sizes, of course. For me, this
wasn’t sexually charged at all, as it might be for other people, who read
something else in a black, tightly-fitting costume. I was completely
focussed on my role as "snaketail" [laughs]. But my work does not in any
way reflect this experience with costumes. On the other hand, I know the
whole opera by heart. I could write the libretto down immediately.
Schinwald, Anna, 2003 and Otto, 2003, Courtesy Galerie Georg Kargl, Wien