Markus Schinwald (born in Salzburg in 1973 ; lives and works in Vienna) is an artist whose work is protean and has no hierarchy of genres. Inspired by the worlds of fashion, dance or opera, and more broadly by that of entertainment, he moves easily from performance to film, from photography to clothes making. His heelless pumps (Low Heels, 1998) or his snakeskin sneakers (Snakers, 1998) – fetishistic objects par excellence – suggest a subtler conditioning of the body. Markus Schinwald’s universe wavers between that of Lynch, Cronenberg and Chalayan, and the clothes he designs can become instruments of constraint, transform themselves into prosthesis, and even replace the body. This dividing, or dual body, expresses hidden fantasies and brings to the surface the intricacy of our subconscious depth.
In his movie Dictio Pii (2001), actors slowly pass each other in the hallways of a deserted turn-of-the-century hotel, repeating automatic and ritualized gestures. They are attired with absurd, disturbing, minimalist accessories. The protagonists of the Contortionists (C-print, 2003), whose extremely twisted bodies are standing in a frozen dance, get transformed into puppets, into figures. These are the signs of a sophisticated and baroque culture, which suit both SM aesthetics and symbolic painting, as well as the clumsiness of Biedermeier style and the sensuality of chinoiseries.
Besides being an aesthetic pose, Markus Schinwald’s work questions the freedom of bodies and their drifting in a society fascinated as much by perfection as by self-destruction.
These manipulated bodies, controlled and mechanized, mimed by contortionists, played by actors or overacted automats, are confined in a space staged by Schinwald. These figures, frozen in a motionless choreography, are partially concealed from the sight of the spectator, thus arousing his curiosity and inciting him to play the role of a Peeping Tom. This theater made of pictures leads the spectator in a bumpy journey, which hinders his progression and forces him to walk like a puppet with a halting and disjointed gait.
This path also leads to the presentation of Markus Schinwald’s new edition:
Markus Schinwald, The Boxes, series of 10 wooden boxes, 25 x 25 x 25 cm, interiors are lined with an altered image, Iris
print, black/white, and lighted with a lamp; the exterior of each box is covered with a different wallpaper and possesses a
judas hole on top; edition of 10, 2 HC and 2 AP, dated, numbered and signed, edited by the Centre d’édition contemporaine,