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Christoph Schmidberger: You are Forgiven


Goff + Rosenthal
537 West 23rd Street, 212-675-0461
March 7 - March 28, 2006
Reception: Tuesday, March 7, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Those familiar with Schmidberger’s work will recognize familiar themes—decadent and disinterested youth, an overcharged sexuality that is both languid and transgressive, and the implication of a larger narrative of desire that is always just out of reach. Critics have found art-historical antecedents for Schmidberger’s painting in the Renaissance (the haughtily bored and beautiful gaze of a Bronzino), the Pre-Raphaelites, and David Hockney. The paintings and drawings in “You Are Forgiven” are more complex and ambitious than anything Schmidberger has attempted before. The three large-scale paintings seem to amplify the complex psychology of Schmidberger’s earlier, typically smaller works exponentially. New York-based writer and critic Joao Ribas describes the painting, also titled “You Are Forgiven” as follows:

A kind of post-coital, reverse pieta, the image stands as an illustration of that oft-remarked confluence of the two basic psychic forces, Eros and Thanatos, captured in the euphemism of the petit mort . The luminosity of the flesh in the painting-also a fixture of most of Schmidberger’s work—is thus both carnal and morbid. This is the same slippage between ecstasy and death that is seen in Schmidberger’s paintings of bodies floating in swimming pools. Sex, death, beauty and the (mostly empty) promise of youth suffuse Schmidberger’s work and are amplified by his prodigious technical skills.

And, as Ribas points out,

“Schmidberger suggests that the banal or quotidian is itself erotically charged … a kind of fulfillment of the Freudian premise that everything is in fact a potential target of libidinal investment.”
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