David Schnell


About the object

In David Schnell's large-format etching, fragments of a cityscape - stone-like cubes and metal rods - are drawn into a kind of crater or ditch, drawn into the distance in a view of central perspective, towards the top of a church spire in miniature size. The whole image is embedded in a wild, black-and-white structure of rectangular surfaces and abstract bimorph shapes, some of which are reminiscent of clouds or bushes.
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Go ahead and step closer to the graphic to trace these shapes and surfaces! You then will become aware of the whole wealth of nuances in the black, white and grey design, which can be traced back to the technique of aquatint etching: an intaglio printing process based on a halftone grain produced by etching the plate - an enormously complex production process that requires the utmost concentration and hours of work. Since aquatint plates are particularly sensitive, it is never possible to produce more than 20 high-quality prints, as it´s also the case with this edition by David Schnell. Whether in his original prints or his large-format coloured oil paintings: David Schnell's pictorial worlds often leave the impression of wildly jumbled puzzle pieces that are not at all easy to arrange and appear like set pieces from the analogue and digital worlds. They always leave the viewer suspended between small, tangible and thus somehow still "real" elements on the one hand and the large, seemingly incomprehensible cyberspace on the other. In his art, David Schnell is a master in using traditional themes (often landscapes) and techniques (oil paintings or classical printing techniques), but at the same time always breaking them in a conscious way. For example, the artist uses classical ideas of horizon and perspective, giving his works an almost fabulous aura of Renaissance masterpieces. This traditionalist moment is, however, undermined by modernist, sharp-edged forms that force their way into the picture surfaces and appear like digital malfunctions or - to speak with the analogue - like shards of shattering mirrors. David Schnell's works thus function as mediations on chaos and order, on architectural and natural structures as well as on past and future. The artist was born in 1971 and made a name for himself at the turn of the millennium as a protagonist of the so-called New Leipzig School, which also made him known internationally. Gabriele Rauschning acquired this work in 2017, having already bought the smaller etching "Bahn" in 2010. You will find it on the last wall of the exhibition, in a triad next to two other contemporary landscapes by Arnulf Rainer and Gerhard Altenbourg. (Text: Verena Faber)

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