Andreas Schön


For his first solo exhibition in Italy, Andreas Schön presented a unified body of work that differed radically from his usual landscape painting. His most recent installation consisted of a series of portraits that depicted a toy lamb from various angles. Attached to the puppet’s back was a small ribbon with the colors of the French flag; its ears, stretched forward, recalled 17th-century men’s wigs. These details were sufficient to evoke, in almost satirical fashion, the French Revolution. Indeed, each puppet was given the name of a historical personage: Philippe Egalité, Talleyrand, Capet, Danton, Saint Just, and Kloots, a German officer who abandoned his country to join up with the French.

The use of a sheep—usually emblematic of meekness—to represent one of the most brutal periods in French history, made clear the satirical intent of this work. By placing victims and executioners together, Schön also erased any distinctions among those who figured prominently in this period, often on opposite sides, as if to confront the way in which many of the debates that informed the birth of one of the first democratic states have been forgotten. That is, even in contemporary life we resist analyzing the social relations that animate our political life and that are the legacy of the French Revolution. Schön’s work (re)presents history as farce: the original values seem to have been lost in the meaningless equation of actions and judgments that were originally in opposition, and rightly so.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.