Jean-Frédéric Schnyder

Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Jean-Frédéric Schnyder distinguishes himself from most other contemporary artists by the fact that he paints only what he has seen in person. No photographs, no Internet; real life is his model. He has to have been there—no matter what the weather.

Less certain, however, is whether his humor always hits the mark. Sure, his 126 sunsets (“Sonnenuntergang” [Sunset], 1996), his 93 train-station waiting rooms (“Wartesäle” [Waiting Rooms], 1988–90), and his 119 views of highways (“Wanderung” [Walking Tour], 1993), all small-format paintings unfortunately not on display in this exhibition, are amusing. One smiles at Schnyder’s resoluteness, at the effort expended to capture the banality on canvas. Other artists may tackle great themes in their work; Schnyder applies himself to blowing up the insignificant so it can no longer be ignored. This may sound like a Pop-art strategy, but Schnyder is no

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2007 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.