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Under the Spell of the Uncanny
Markus Schinwald receives the T-Mobile Art:Award




Markus Schinwald: Diarios (to you),2003
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c)Schinwald, Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna



Markus Schinwald's photographic works, films, and installations are beautiful, enigmatic, and often disturbing. Now, the young Austrian artist has been the first to receive the T-Mobile Art:Award. A distinguished jury including Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, Global Head of Deutsche Bank Art, and the Director of the Center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe, Prof. Peter Weibel, voted unanimously for the Salzburg-born artist from among 16 nominees. It was particularly Schinwald's "remarkable and independent manner of working with various media" that convinced the jurors. "He already possesses his own significantly unique and valuable handwriting," as Dr. Georg Pölzl, board chairman of T-Mobile Austria's management, put it. The prize is part of the company's art sponsorship concept, which has been presenting the works of contemporary artists in its Viennese headquarters since 2004.



Markus Schinwald: Diarios (to you),2003
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c)Schinwald, Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna


Markus Schinwald’s new works show the exhibition hall of contemporary art in Munster from November 19 2005 through January 8 2006. In his show Marionettes for Munster, the artist investigates the Romantic motif of the double. Schinwald is constantly searching for the uncanny and the mystic hidden beneath the surface of the everyday. At the end of his film dictio pii (2001), the words "we are deranged" can be heard off-camera. Before that, the viewer was witness to an absurd play in which seven individuals move through the abandoned hallways and rooms of a hotel. Doors open mysteriously, strangely dressed figures appear, only to disappear again. A wilted diva is chain-smoking, a page is incessantly beating the dust from his jacket, a woman is tying a man’s arms behind his back – the protagonists in Schinwald's film seem as though imprisoned in the ritual repetition of meaningless acts.





Markus Schinwald: Diarios (to you),2003
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c)Schinwald, Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna







Markus Schinwald: Diarios (to you),2003
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c)Schinwald, Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna


The Deutsche Bank Collection possesses photographic works from his 2003 installation Diarios (to you). With 160 black and white slides in cinemascope format, on which sometimes several visual planes overlap and voices can be heard off camera, Schinwald tells a fragmentary, inscrutable story in which lonely cowboys who seem to have arrived fresh out of a western film encounter Expressionist Austrian architecture such as Clemens Holzmeister's crematorium in Vienna's Main Cemetery and Fritz Wotruba's sculptural Trinity Church.

The Vienna-based artist first attracted attention with his uniquely designed clothing. Deformation by means of a garment's fit: Schinwald's Jubilation Shirt from 1997 forces its wearer to hold his or her arms up high, through sleeves sewn on the reverse side – in jubilation, or capitulation.



Markus Schinwald: Diarios (to you),2003
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c)Schinwald, Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna


His shoe designs, in the form of heels that one buckles under one’s feet, for instance, induce the wearer to absurd movements.The young women in his photo series Contortionists (2002-05) also seem deformed: Vicky is lying on a bed, reading in a half-darkened room in gold and bronze hues. Through the strange pose of her body and Schinwald's lighting, which recalls David Lynch's films, an otherwise banal situation is made to seem quite alien. In the middle of the rug, Rachel is doing a gymnastic exercise in a dismal room done in stuffy beige and brown hues; she resembles a twisted puppet whose outfit matches her surroundings perfectly. The protagonist of the film Children's Crusaden (2004) is a living marionette whose face constantly changes in an eerie way. The figure, dressed in a grey suit, follows a group of singing children. The work plays off both the Pied Piper motif and the medieval children's crusades – an idyll of horror somewhere between seduction and promise. And as is so often the case in the work of Markus Schinwald, the journey here leads directly into the land of nightmare.


Markus Schinwald: Diarios (to you),2003
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c)Schinwald, Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna