Critics’ Picks

Florian Schmidt, Synchron (Bones) 03, 2011, glue, wood, acrylic gel, lacquer, paper, 30 3/8“ x 23” x 12 1/2".

Florian Schmidt, Synchron (Bones) 03, 2011, glue, wood, acrylic gel, lacquer, paper, 30 3/8“ x 23” x 12 1/2".


Florian Schmidt

New Galerie
2 rue Borda Ground floor
October 20–December 22, 2011

Florian Schmidt’s second solo exhibition at New Galerie, “Synchron,” literally builds on his first, utilizing leftover works from his previous show, as well as a range of ephemera including business cards and announcements, to produce a new selection of paintings and sculptures. The assembled pieces might best be described simply as “constructions,” as they seem to only underscore Schmidt’s open-ended process whereby fragments and remnants are reconstituted into unexpected configurations of surprisingly delicacy. This is particularly true of the new sculptural works, rough-hewn arches pieced together from bits of stretcher bars, collaged paperboard invitation cards, and paint that trace the subtle poetry of their own fabrication.

Materiality seems to be the dominant concern here, with a focus on so much base matter, including wood, paint, vinyl, cardboard, and staples, but it is clear that the history of painting also shapes Schmidt’s playful gestures: for instance, in the large-scale geometric works, or more intimately in “Untitled (Thierry),” 2011, a series of six small paintings, assembled jigsawlike from stacks of old business cards, nailed onto stretcher bars, and roughly painted white, with bits of text peeking through. The ghostly effect resonates with the tradition of the monochrome (and, specifically, countless white paintings), but the work remains improvisational and unresolved. And perhaps that’s the trick: More than compositions, these are material propositions, in the philosophical sense, that continually test the currency of formal languages deployed in brave new contexts. It is this that separates Schmidt’s considerable efforts from those of so many of his fellow “meta” painters, as he eschews facile irony for a more ambiguous, agnostic stance that explores the limits and possibilities of painterly idioms with a faithful rigor that stops short of belief.