Cinzia Friedlaender

Matthias Schaufler

24 Sep - 20 Nov 2010

© Matthias Schaufler
Selbstportrait I, 2010
Oil on canvas
130.5 x 97.2 cm / 51.4 x 38.3 in
Eichberg, Asum, Westerlau

24. 09. – 20. 11. 2010

Beyond Multiplicity in Matthias Schaufler’s “Eichberg, Asum, Westerlau”

In “Eichberg, Asum, Westerlau” Matthias Schaufler visits and re-visits amultiply examined self in the places where the ‘self’ has spawned another: inmemories, projections, thoughts. The canvas becomes a threshold, the apparatuswith which an expansion of the locus is enabled, and the self enters theliminal.

Schaufler’s treatment of the self as subject is a multiplication in itself, asit moves in constant dialogue between the question of the subject’s identity asit is found in the literary genres of Romanticism and Realism (reminiscent of aBildungsroman by Balzac or Goethe), and the postmodern break with this question:the identity of the self is a futile question if there is no singular authorialvoice that can discern it. Rimbaud’s famous quote „Je est un autre” becomes, inSchaufler’s work, not simply “an other” but rather a multiplicity of others, allof which are embedded within the self.

Painted by hand in light, nearly translucent strokes, the depicted figures arein a state of liminality: they move in between spaces, in between stages ofconsciousness and even in between time. The young ‘self’ evoked by memory - atreacherous and unreliable source - is overlaid with a mental projection of a‘self’ as another. The locus mapped out on the canvases is that of open meadows,prairies and pastures, of romantic places that are themselves as real as theyare projected.

With his handling of the two-dimensional canvas as a liminal threshold,Schaufler’s sedulous approach to the medium of painting becomes emphasized. Acentral perspective is outlined only in order to be transgressed and to send theviewer’s eye to travel beyond the focal point and into the places above, outsideand within it.

The constant movement betwixt and between is also evident in Schaufler’scollages. Culled from mass media pictures, the collages are formal manipulationsof the body in their own right, and serve as studies for the paintings as well.When leafing through the pages of glossy magazines, multiplications of the bodyare evoked; the body is, on the one hand, restricted to the aestheticizedphotographed positions while, on the other hand, a slew of references andsemiotic connotations are projected onto that same body. Schaufler overlaps thede-subjectified body parts and allows the conglomeration of associations theyare meant to evoke to separate from the realm of commercially dictatedinterpretations and enter the realm of individual projections. What theseindividual projections may consist of remains in the hands of the viewer.

Text: Hili Perlson

Tags: Matthias Schaufler