Monday, 27 December 2010

Die Familie Schneider - Gregor Schneider

This is the book about an art exhibition that I, unfortunately failed to go.

„Die Familie Schneider was open by appointment only. (…)From the outside, 14 and 16 Walden Street looked the same, down to the white net curtains in the ground floor windows. One visitor entered 14 Walden Street alone, whilst the other visitor entered next door the same time. After a eriod of up to ten minutes or so inside the house, the visitors exchanged keys and went into thesecond house for a further period. At no time was there ever more than one visitor in each house.” (Lingwood, p.114).
“It is not easy to describe the heightening of sensation, the existential anxiety, which many visitors felt as they put the key in the door and crossed the threshold from the street to the inside. (…) The house brought on conflicting feelings of attraction and repulsion, of wanting to go further in, and wanting to get out” (Lingwood, p.114).

“Stepping into the second house brought on the perplexing realisation that it was an exact double of the first. The entrance hall and stairs had the same brown carpet, the same wallpaper, the same yellow light (…) the same middle-aged woman washing dishes in the kitchen and the same naked man in the bathroom and the same small figure with legs protruding from underthe black garbage bag in the corner of the cream bedroom that you had just seen un the other house.” (Lingwood, p.114).

“Seeing all this for the second time offered the opportunity for a different register of experience – less an immediate psychological challenge, more of a philosophical enquiry about memory and experience. The visitor was compelled to try and match what he or she was seeing with what they remembered just having seen. As GregorSchneider noted”The visitor by necessity observes himself. He is beside himself. He walks through the house next to himself.”” (Lingwood, p.115).

“The identical inhabitants in each house made no attempt to interact with or acknowledge in any way the presence of the visitor. They did not speak, even when spoken to.” (Lingwood, p.115).

“The rooms, already small, had been made slightly smaller to the specifications of the artist. Probably this was imperceptible to the hunan eye, but the body somhow knew that the proportions of the rooms were not quite right.” (Lingwood, p.115).

“Die Familie Schneider was all interior to an almost suffocating degree. Being inside, it felt as if there was no outside, But on being outside, the visitor realised how little access t ohat was going on inside the really had.” (Lingwood, p.115).

Andrew O’Hagan
“One doesn’t feel with the family Schneider that one is seeing ghosts – no, one feels that one is a ghost oneself, haunting these people in the middle of their heartbreaking routines.” (O’Hagan, p.157).

“Connecting the routines, you find yourself embarrassed, for what is more embarrassing than being a spectator to the incidentals of other people’s loneliness? Standing there, eyeing the green soap, I thought what a prison we make of the objects that surround us.” (O’Hagan, p.158).

“I swear there was something murderous in those houses. From the gloss paint-work, the locked doors, the efforts at comfort which only vonveyed discomfort – coal fires, convector heaters, a gas fire, and central heating, in each of the houses – one felt that there was something in the atmosphere that was bots terrible familiar and deeply grotesque.” (O’Hagan, p.159).

“The power of the piece is to make you create narratives for these images to occupy.” (O’Hagan, p.159).

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