Critics’ Picks

Anne Schneider, Untitled (Leiter) (Untitled [Ladder]), 2011, iron, concrete, paint, aluminum, rope, dimensions variable.

Anne Schneider, Untitled (Leiter) (Untitled [Ladder]), 2011, iron, concrete, paint, aluminum, rope, dimensions variable.

Vienna

Anne Schneider

Christine König Galerie
Schleifmühlgasse 1A
June 19, 2013–September 10, 2011

Long, thin iron rods emerging from amorphous cement forms rise throughout Anne Schneider’s latest exhibition. Around them are stacked blankets, a stool, and a ladder. Each of these sculptures plays on associations, because the materials, as well as the forms, are familiar from everyday life. But their appearance is strange: In some works the concrete forms cling to the rods, while in others the rods appear to hover off their concrete bases. How can something so heavy float? How can something so hard as concrete appear, again and again, so soft? And how is it that these unpoetic materials become narrative, and these Minimalist forms become quite fanciful? Over and over, one runs up against these questions and contradictions, which only adds to the allure of the sculptures.

In her early works, Schneider directed our gaze toward caves, toward interior spaces as protected areas. First she made the deformed dolls that looked monstrously brutal. Later, she molded amorphous body parts out of pink wax, making layered forms that reminded one of a knee or arm and yielded spaces for the imagination. She then abandoned such direct, bodily references for her black filigree threads, pulled taut from ceiling to floor. Now she has shifted from showing us architecture to playing with architectural materials, and with first principles such as gravity and direction of motion: The ladder tells of ascending, but the heavy rope and ball attached to it pull back down––a frozen moment we live through continuously. This fantastic exhibition is like an enchanted forest in which things seem to juggle with their own qualities.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.