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Oskar Schmidt

Press release

Oskar Schmidt – Portraits and Still Lifes

With the advent of digital photographic technologies, the weight of the photographic spilled so far into an image that in the late 20th century, as Jennifer González writes, what registers as a photograph is “not only anything that looks like a photograph but also anything that acts like a photograph insofar as it produces a photographic effect.” In other words, it produces a feeling in the viewer that activates the logic of vision and display. Oskar Schmidt’s new works deploy the photographic effect in uncanny ways to create a decolonial space of representation. They comprise portraits and still-life images that feature Brazilian subjects. Some of the works were completed in Berlin, lending the project a transatlantic origin story that poetically alludes to its intervention in the colonial histories that undergird modern portraiture and the kinds of subjects it venerates. Their composition and mood channels the formal properties of modern European painting in the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.