Dierk Schmidt

Galerie Ursula Walbröl

Dierk Schmidt is concerned with the possibilities of historical painting in the present day. In his recent exhibition “Hostages,” he established a network of historical associations with a recent occurrence: On October 19, 2001, a boat carrying 397 asylum seekers sank off the coast of Australia. The actual circumstances of the sinking were never fully clarified, but given Australia’s draconian refugee policies, people do seem to have become, as Schmidt has put it, “hostages between political and bureaucratic systems.” He draws a parallel between this event and a much older tragedy: On July 2, 1816, the Medusa, flagship of a French naval unit, ran aground in the vicinity of Cap Blanc with some four hundred passengers comprising both soldiers and settlers. The lifeboats were quickly taken by officers and important passengers, while the common soldiers, sailors, and settlers crowded onto an

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