Erik Schmidt


*1968 Herford
1998–2000 Hochschule der Künste Berlin
1992–1997 Fachhochschule Hamburg, Abteilung für Design, Illustration/Malerei
  Lives and works in Berlin

Solo exhibitions

2019 Fast Undurchsichtig, Sammlung Glampe, Berlin
  The Only Way is Up, carlier | gebauer, Berlin Folge den Markierungen, Kunst- und Kulturforum, Herz- und Diabeteszentrum NRW, Bad Oyenhausen
2018 Further in and further out, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
  Erik Schmidt, Jochen Hempel, Leipzig
2016 Rays around you, carlier | gebauer, Berlin Cut/Uncut, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
2014 Erik Schmidt | Blank, carlier | gebauer, Berlin
2013 Downtown, Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren
2012 Downtown, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin
2011 Erik Schmidt. Films & Paintings, Galerie der Stadt Backnang, Backnang
2010 Bogged Down, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
  Many-faceted Thing, Hoet Bekaert Gallery, Ghent, Belgium Sechs Tage bleibt er noch, Kunst-Station St. Peter, Köln
  Perusing the Scenery, Praz-Delavallade, Paris
  Erik Schmidt, Kunstverein Kreis Gütersloh, Gütersloh
2009 Right to Roam, Galeria Soledad Lorenzo, Madrid, Spain 2008 Working the landscape, carlier | gebauer, Berlin
  As above is so below, Elizabeth Dee, New York City

Group exhibitions

2021 ongoing schmidt pick
  a group exhibition following an invitation by Erik Schmidt in collaboration with Claudia Rech
2020 Retour, Provinz Editionen, Bochum
  Sehnsucht & Fall, Sammlung Wehmhöner, Kunstsaele Berlin
2019 From Hand to Mind, carlier | gebauer, Berlin
  Postcard Reloaded, Kunstraum Potsdam, Potsdam
  Passion. Bilder von der Jagd, Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, Switzerland Globe as a Palette; Contemporary Art from The Taguchi Art Collection (Obihiro), Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art, Hokkaido, Japan
2018 Nachts allein im Atelier V, Evelyn Drewes | Galerie, Hamburg
2017 Taguchi Art Collection, WOODONE Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan Cuestiones personales, Collection Soledad Lorenzo, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
  ICON, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
  Dr.N und die suche nach der Quadratur des Kreises, Bernhard Knaus Fine Art, Frankfurt/Main
  SMALL – an exploration of miniature, Sexauer Gallery, Berlin. Curated by Juliet Kothe and Annika von Taube Picha/Bilder – Zwischen Nairobi & Berlin, me Collectors Room, Berlin
2016 Come-in. Interieur als Medium der zeitgenössischen Kunst in Deutschland, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, India In Formation, Sexauer Gallery, Berlin
2015 Enter the Void, Pop-up Bülowstrasse, Berlin Paarweise, Neue Werke in der Sammlung Marta, MARTa Herford, Herford
  Jäger & Sammler in der zeitgenössischen Kunst, Villa Merkel, Esslingen am Neckar
  IN SITU, Jason Mccoy Gallery, New York City, NY, USA
2014 Come-in, Interieur als Medium zeitgenössischer Kunst in Deutschland, Fábrica de Santo Thyrso, Santo Tirso, Portugal Fragen Wagen - Zusammenstöße mit der Sammlung Marta, MARTa Herford
  Jäger & Sammler, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen Rohkunstbau XX – Revolution, Schloss Roskow, Roskow



The electric eel is not an eel at all, it is only called that because it looks like one. However, one should not be deceived by the appearance of the electric eel. The fact that this animal is capable of generating surges of up to 860 volts, which could put a full-grown human being out of action, is certainly not apparent.

The fact that it is often impossible to reconcile what a thing looks like and what you see in it is as confusing as it is stimulating - and the reason why art still exists. Why there are still arts. At first, photography was so nerdy about "what a thing looks like" that painting had to ask itself seriously for a while whether it could still be trusted in view of its tendency to load even the most realistic representations with invisible particles of meaning, whereupon it defiantly took its leave into non-objectivity - only to really get back at photography with photorealism at the latest. The latter also indulged here and there in non-objectivity, but never became as good at it as painting. No wonder, since photography is fundamentally inferior to painting, similar to the electric eel to the normal European eel, which cannot send electric shocks, but has one of the most spectacular life cycles of the animal kingdom, in that it follows a genetically inscribed circuit diagram: It spawns in the Sargasso Sea near the Bahamas, then travels thousands of kilometers across the sea, lives for quite a long time, up to 50 years, in European freshwater, and returns to its birthplace to spawn and die.

By the way, there are surprisingly many people who know nothing about eels. If they were to look at an eel and an electric eel at the same time, they might have some idea which animal is Electrophorus and which is Anguilla. They might even like one of them better, but after a while they wouldn't be so sure and might despair at their inability to evaluate things that look the same but are completely different. Transferred to the arts, it is very reassuring that photography is so inferior to painting that there would never be any doubt in the evaluation. The inferiority even applies literally: let's assume that a painter had the idea of combining painting and photography in one and the same work (but why would a painter have such an idea and deliberately want to contaminate the superiority of his medium), he would use photography as a base for the application of paint, not vice versa.

The conundrum about the distinction between eels and electric eels works, by the way, with every thing we think we know or recognize, even with power poles, just to grab some thing out of the air. Or - and now it gets really exciting - with nothing. Because how do you recognize nothing? It's completely absurd, but whenever you see nothing, you see something. Often even more than when you see a thing. Provided that one can relate this nothing with something. From this point of view it is good if the nothing is not alone in the picture. But in connection with a thing, which one can tap as a source, in order to charge it. Eels or electricity pylons are not exactly among the most popular subjects, even if they are more common in photography than in painting. Yet especially with power poles, the thing about charging nothingness would work great. For example, if you were to depict them from below, so that your gaze would follow them upwards and be guided into the sky, and if you then simply left the sky empty, painted nothing there? Then nothingness would be such a thing that you could look at anything you wanted. And then it wouldn't really matter how big or small it was, whether you saw an electric eel in it or an eel, photography or painting. It would not be material, but essential. It would be the essence of art.

Anika von Taube