The Secret of the Pink Latex Suit


The German photographic artist Stefanie Schneider began her career in Los Angeles

 and produces fascinating pictures with a mysterious beauty


Vera Gšrgen, Financial Times Deutschland, August 5, 2005



A woman with red wig and pink latex suit stands in the dusty desert. She is holding brightly-colored water pistols. The photo resembles a scene in a science-fiction series from the nineteen-seventies, as if a trendy-futuristic female space voyager had just landed on a deserted planet. Polaroid Movie is the name which Stefanie Schneider gives to her photo series, with allusion to Hollywood and its films, or Instant Dreams.

At the Galerie Lumas in Berlin, her photographs may now be seen in a solo exhibition. "Hollywood is the quintessential dream factory; everyone goes there in search of their dreams, and many dreams are shattered there," says the 36-year-old German artist, who lives in Berlin and Los Angeles.

Her own life seems like an American dream: A few years ago, she came to L.A. to work as a film-cutter. At a party she meets the German General Consul, whom she tells that she also takes photographs on the side―whereupon he invites her to take part in an exhibition of German artists. The curator likes Schneider's photographic creations so much that she takes a few of them to art fairs, where gallerists see them and include them in their programs. So Stefanie Schneider becomes an artist more or less by chance.

Chance is an essential element in her life, she says, and she seeks it in her pictures as well. In this endeavor she uses only photo material whose date of expiration has already passed. The chemical substances react differently than is customarily desired―with discolorations and spots whose form, for instance, resembles single cells seen beneath the microscope.

Distorted and ephemeral as they are, the works emphasize the fictional character of film and photography. Many of Stefanie Schneider's works have an extremely striking impact―as when, for example, bleached-out photos are meant to suggest the faded dream of Hollywood.

But that place seems to be an important source of inspiration for her artistic works. The atmosphere of her pictures frequently recall films by David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino or Oliver Stone. The point of departure for all photographs by Stefanie Schneider consists of Polaroids which, among other things, have arisen out of the shooting sessions for various films.

But most of her images possess a mysterious beauty. Some of them reveal the nightmare behind the glittering surface of the American Dream.



Stefanie Schneider: Lumas Editionsgalerie, Oranienburger Str. 1, Berlin; the exhibition is being shown all seven days of the week through September 28. Tel 030/28 04 03 73.