The human body is the main focus in Deborah Schmidt’s figurative painting. Instead of classical portraits, they are situational snapshots, in which the bodies are captured in moments of everyday activity. They are always in motion – in interaction with themselves or with others, partly introverted, partly extroverted, sometimes fragmented and transgressive. They always appear self-determined. In her pictures, the artist undermines the passive object status of conventional body representations. Inspired by queer feminist approaches and practices, she wants to show unruly bodies, especially those that defy gender-specific norms. The bodies in her paintings exude a self-empowered dynamic that barely performs vulnerability. Rather, the attitudes and gestures are always strong and confident, no matter how unexpected and non-conforming they may be. The format of representational painting is particularly interesting in the context of Schmidt’s approach. (Queer-)feminist art usually finds its expression in contemporary media, which are not as patriarchally predefined as (figurative) painting. The movement of the body and the fleeting impressions in the images stand in opposition to the time-consuming material level of painting. In this sense, Schmidt’s works in the format of painting stands in fertile contrast to the content shown in the images. Thus, in the exhibition material matters – moving and unruly bodies not only raise questions about artistic possibilities to intervene in changing normative body representations, but also in the medium of paintings itself and its traditional heteronormative occupation.
Deborah Schmidt, geboren 1983 in Berlin, ist Künstlerin und Politologin. Als Zweitstudium studierte sie Kunst und Politik auf Lehramt an der Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main. Sie arbeitet als Bildungsreferentin in der Mädchenarbeit und Politischen Bildungsarbeit und setzt sich praktisch wie theoretisch mit der Verbindung von Queer-feminismus, politischen Inhalten und Kunst auseinander. www.deborahschmidt.de