Andreas Schmitten. Nothing New
Andreas Schmitten (1989 in Mönchengladbach) is internationally known as a visionary ‘transformer of spaces’ and master of handcrafted perfection. The artist, who was a student of Georg Herold at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie, was a fan of model construction from a young age. Schmitten retained his enthusiasm, for he creates perfected and mannered models for his artworks, that take over the space with their expressive presence. For the solo exhibition in Erlangen he brilliantly presents his works for the selected rooms of the Kunstpalais and through curious materials, the perfectly lacquered surfaces, and the unusual color combinations of his pieces he transforms the place.
Beside his high gloss showcases and sculptures, that seem strangely functional, there will be a focus on Schmitten’s new drawings at the Kunstpalais. The 64 pieces of his series are called Nothing New and will be finished just in time before the opening of the exhibition. And in contrast to the title’s suggestion, the drawings do show new content, even unprecedented things. In the manner of colorful comic books, drawn with unagitated lines, there are unpertubed characters doing outrageous things: A dentist absolutely smashes his treatment room to bits and sequentially lays down on the floor to sleep; a man cuts his clothing off of his body and then burns the remaining shreds in the sink. A group of tourists slashes the upholstery in a subway, just to then calmly sit down on the shredded seats. The question of why Schmitten’s characters are doing these actions remains unanswered. Still, this does not stop the viewers to inspect the comic art style pictures with a smirk.
For his artwork Andreas Schmitten uses the language and logic of different ways of expression. For the series Nothing New, for instance, emulates the picture language of comic books foils it with its humorous contents that at first glance do not make much obvious sense. Schmitten’s installation is partly reminiscent of object art of the 20th century—with the difference that the artist produces his objects artificially and thus gives them a mint condition look.
Image: Andreas Schmitten, restliche Welt/ westliche Welt and westliche Welt/ restliche Welt, 2019, metal, wood, fabric, synthetic material, glass, each 215 × 125 × 38 cm, Courtesy KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin/ London, installation view from the exhibition Andreas Schmitten. Nothing New, Photo: Ludger Paffrath