February 16–May 6, 2007
German artist Gregor Schneider (b. 1969) uses the images and materials of domestic architecture to express ideas of life, death, and desire. Schneider is best known for his monumental project Dead House ur, begun in the mid-1980s when the artist was still in his teens. Over the course of several years, Schneider compulsively renovated the interior of a non-descript house in the German city of Rheydt, replicating, on a smaller scale, his actual apartment. In 2003, Schneider turned Barbara Gladstone Gallery's pristine exhibition space into a dank, blind alley charged with an unnerving sense of danger. Then, last June for a commission by Artangel, Schneider remade the interiors of two identical neighboring houses in East London to exhibit a disturbing domestic space replete with a strange smell, low ceilings, locked rooms with peep holes, and inhabitants who were also part of the voyeuristic experience. Somewhat lesser known is Schneider's work in sculpture, photography, and video. These works refer to his larger architectural installations. His photographs and videos include various buildings as their subject. His sculptures often incorporate plaster, lathe, and other building materials. These materials also link Schneider with the artists of the Italian Arte Povera movement of the 1960s, who preferred "anti-elitist," often ephemeral materials for their work, and with Joseph Beuys, who used non-traditional materials in his sculptures, believing they could forge new relationships between "art" and "life." Schneider's most recent sculpture features human figures cast from his own body or that of his young son's. These haunting works are the physical manifestations of the greatest fears implied, but not seen, in his unnerving architectural spaces—the hidden secrets behind those ordinary domestic facades.
In close collaboration with the artist, this exhibition will feature a selection of sculpture, photographs, and video works and, possibly, a small-scale installation space—works that, in many ways, complete Schneider's larger architectural installations.
The exhibition is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and curated by Margaret Andera, associate curator of contemporary art.
Gregor Schneider, Die Wunschtochter/The Planned Daughter, 2004. Mixed media. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Winter.