In the film Hunting Grounds (2006) scenes of a parforce hunt are interlaced with scenes of an aristocratic dinner party at Wendlinghausen Castle in Teutoburg Forest. The artist, playing the lead role in the film, becomes entangled in the social ritual of the hunt, yet the question of whether he is the hunter or the hunted remains unresolved. Various narrative planes, together with topics such as the artist’s self-image, hunting instincts and paranoia, passion and fear of death, are superimposed one upon another.
Parallel to shooting of the film, in 2005 Erik Schmidt began a cycle of paintings that highlight individual hunting motifs, and also comprise clear elements of self-staging. In these works, the sense of motion conveyed by the pointillist style, which fractures the pictorial surface into vigorous dots, serves as a counterpoint to the relative calm of the rural idyll.
Hunting Grounds is the first in a trilogy of films shot in rural areas of Westphalia. The trilogy also includes Bogged Down (2010) and Gatecrasher (2010).