Erik Schmidt takes precise observations of his urban surroundings as his point of departure in these paintings. He portrays business people strolling along streets and through public parks, full of aplomb and self-confidence. They seem anonymous yet at the same time their distinctive shared body language and apparel make them stand out from the backdrop of the metropolis.
In his earlier works too Schmidt picked out the cliché of men in suits to turn the spotlight on a specific visual societal role model. The physical appearance of these businessmen reflects an awareness of their self-staging, mingled with quotidian eroticism. At times, absorbed in what they are doing, they forget their “public face” for a moment, and details such as a jacket removed by one figure or a stiff shirt collar create a strikingly emblematic effect.
This cycle also encompasses photographs of fetishistic self-portraits, for example depicting Erik Schmidt, dressed in white sportswear, lying in a park, immobile as a corpse.