Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Artist Markus Schinwald's "Art Zombies" on View at the CCA Wattis Institute

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 10:04 AM

click to enlarge Markus Schinwald work at the Wattis Institute - PHOTO BY JOHNNA ARNOLD
  • Photo by Johnna Arnold
  • Markus Schinwald work at the Wattis Institute
Austrian artist Markus Schinwald likes to start with an already created work and add on. For example, in his first major U.S. show at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, he has retooled Chippendale-style table legs, making them into sculptures that crawl up the walls or wrap around bronze poles. He also buys 19th century paintings and adds things to them – jewelry, braces, head coverings or chains.

“I thought, ‘Why should I do them from scratch if they already exist?’” he says. “It’s always been an issue in art in some way. Many of my colleagues are dealing with a history from not so long ago, but I like the idea of using old paintings and bringing them back to life in a way. Sort of like art zombies.”

click to enlarge The artist and his wife Ginger Schinwald at the Wattis. - PHOTO BY DREW ALTIZER
  • Photo by Drew Altizer
  • The artist and his wife Ginger Schinwald at the Wattis.
Schinwald says he thought of adding prosthesis to his art when he studied fashion at age 14.

“I was interested in architectural clothing – corsets, high heels, or a tight belt– accessories that don’t cover the body but give it a kind of structure,” he says. “I did work with a Russian dance group, and in rehearsal, they all looked miserable. I made very simple prosthesis with a chain with two hooks into the lips, so from there they smiled. It was delegating the smile to an object.”

The show at the Wattis Institute, presented in partnership with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of their On the Go program, is site specific. Along with altering his artwork, Schinwald alters where it’s shown, covering the walls in soft material, for example, or using poles and openings at odd angles to divide the space. Since his paintings can look conservative and traditional, Schinwald says he wants to make sure they’re not just hanging on a plain white wall. The exhibit at the Wattis Institute looks exactly how he planned it on the model, he adds.

Schinwald says he doesn’t think of his art as disrupting – as some have described it – but rather fragmenting.

“I want to take something apart and put it together, maybe in kind of the wrong way,” he says. “If you break it you have to fix it. Even if you can’t.”

Markus Schinwald, co-curated by Anthony Huberman, director of the CCA Wattis Institute, and Jenny Gheith, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, will be at the Wattis Institute (360 Kansas) through December 13. Hours are Tuesday–Friday noon-7 p.m., and Saturday noon-5 p.m. Admission is free.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Emily Wilson

Suggested Reading


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"