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Erik Schmidt

Press release

Erik Schmidt – The Only Way Is Up

These days, Schmidt’s subject is Berlin. His engagement with the mercurial capital city can be traced to his 2001 video Parking. Echoing the historic comedic conceptualists — Bas Jan Ader, Bruce Nauman —Parking found Schmidt looking for a place to park his car, amidst the towering housing projects of former East Berlin. Lest this picture evoke the somber themes of German post-war history, it is shaded with comic absurdity. There is subtle irony, in the very gesture of looking for a parking spot, in turn of the millennium Berlin. This was a Berlin that had not been fully re-populated, that was yet to become one of the world’s most attractive destinations for immigration, that was still finding its way out of economic depression — a city whose primary resource was space. Schmidt’s dry voiceover rounds out the piece’s sly comedic tone. So too a softly bubbling techno soundtrack. Like his new paint- ings, that video possessed a certain incongruous optimism.