Between cosmopolitanism and anthropocentrism, with an odeporic matrix - from the Greek odoiporikós (ὁδοιπορικός) - accentuated by an obvious intimate flow, the artistic research of the German Erik Schmidt, born in 1968, is refined by all these exquisitely narrative stories and collections relating to the experience of travel.
The immediacy and the impulse to document events in media res are strongly rooted in his activity and support the main objective of wanting to illustrate people, events and all that Schmidt sees and breathes by being in a foreign country or a so-called unusual place, visiting new territories and meeting new cultures.
Erik Schmidt creates works that interact with all these symbolic processes that slip into the different social subsystems. This desire to immerse oneself in foreign territories plays a role in all his diverse works, including films, videos, photos and drawings. His work is nourished by a perfect balance between immersion and abstraction. Schmidt is able to develop and consequently refine a different vision of typical group dynamics and clichés, as well as stereotypes, behavioral codes, rituals, norms, models and conventions that are linked, tacitly accepted and consolidated in different countries.
It is according to these principles that Schmidt’s work never stops questioning what identity is marked by a profoundly anthropological interest, it corresponds to exhibition experiences that are always new and surprising, with a heterogenous artistic depth, aesthetically recognizable and syntactically cohesive. The result is a lively, lush, sometimes disturbing chromatic proposal that animates oil painting. This painting is superimposed, diluted and sprinkled on photographic bases – usually large dimensions – with virtuosity and skill until the moment when technique and material merge in a state of ideal balance and lively harmony.
All of this is accompanied by a cunning and subtle irony, symptomatic of a certain culturalhistoricaloptimism that with skepticism, confronts the contradictory spirit of the vile capitalist development and its consequences.
In addition, to further reinforce this induced feeling of change of scenery, between luminous brushstrokes in shades of cotton candy pink, sky blue and pistachio green, but also purple, red, brick red, ochre, yellow and green, powder pink, white, etc., some of the photographic works in which this chromatic jubilation is expressed are sometimes designed and shown upside down.
The previously mentioned nonchalant attitude towards painting is established between Tokyo and Berlin, where Erik Schmidt lives, works and is continually inspired. In this general state that continually produces a deafening noise, the relationship between the artist and painting is constantly stimulated by an uncertainty as to what art can concretely bring to the world. In this way, Schmidt’s painting settles as a window constantly open to the world, aiming to capture all the architectural and social transformations of the human macrocosm. With the help of brushes and cameras, descriptions and salient information, it verbalizes the social and historical-cultural aspects of the places he visits and the people he meets. All of this will be complemented by intimate considerations and insightful observations from the artist that can go as far as aspects of an anthropological nature and from which, often, new intrigues and new developments of a distinctly fictitious favor are perpetually born, always ready to allegorically counteract the so-called frigid curiosities.