Artwork

Oskar Schmidt
The American Series I-XII, 2011

Oskar Schmidt works in a very intensive way with compositions and atmospheres from icons of photographic history. In his elaborately staged arrangements, he reinterprets these icons. His photographic series The American Series is a response to the historical black-and-white photographs by photojournalist Walker Evans from the year 1936; they were created as a documentation of the social impact of the Depression in America’s southern states. Evans created portraits of the Boroughs family members posing in or in front of their wooden hut, directing their pose, attitude and arrangement and thereby creating an effective staging for the real and existing reality. Oskar Schmidt reconstructed the wooden hut of the Boroughs family in his studio, in order to create his still life images, which manage to evoke the presence of the absent figures. Spatial openings, darkness, light and shadows catch the eye and draw the gaze into the innermost part of the room. Although the chairs are empty and no one sets foot on the thresholds, Schmidt’s photographs are anything but unpopulated and defunct.

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