Video Art Programme:
Erik Schmidt “Cut/Uncut” 2016
The film by painter, illustrator and video artist Erik Schmidt, Cut/Uncut (2016), was made during a scholarship stay in Tokyo. Loosely dressed in a western business suit, the artist strolls seemingly aimlessly through the megacity. His visit to a fast-food restaurant and a pachinko hall seem mundane. Despite his attempt to behave “normally” in the foreign environment, his otherness is felt at every turn. As a tall white man, he immediately stands out among the crowds of people of Asian origin as a “gaijin”, a foreigner. As soon as an interaction such as eating or playing comes up, his western cultural imprint is noticeable in every little gesture.
In the second part of the film, the artist makes his cultural transition and, with a stoic expression, cuts up his suit until it looks like a traditional Japanese garment. As a symbolic act, the cutting of the suit is reminiscent of the shedding of skin. The final transformation takes place at the end, when the artist completely disposes of his remaining clothes and dives into the sea.
Erik Schmidt (*1968 in Herford) lives and works in Berlin. His series of paintings are closely related to his video works, in which he examines the behavioural rituals of social subsystems and repeatedly immerses himself in their environment. Schmidt’s work has been included in international exhibitions, including Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; MARTa Herford, Herford; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Woodone Museum, Hiroshima, Japan; Museo de las Artes, Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2012, Haus am Waldsee presented Schmidt’s first institutional solo exhibition in Berlin, “Downtown”.