press release

Toni Schmale
September 14 – November 5, 2017

Opening/Summer party: Nicole Eisenman, Toni Schmale and Chadwick Rantanen
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 7pm

In the works that she realises in mediums such as installation, performance, sculpture, animation, video and drawing Toni Schmale examines and questions the gender constructions that exist in social power relations. References to subjects such as sexuality and gender, fetishism, sport and physical exertion open up in both the formal designs and also in regard to the assignment of titles.

A certain permeability between object and installation is noticeable in Toni Schmale’s sculptural work. In addition the sculptures often awaken the impression of usability and thus underline their performative potential that appears to be inherent in them. This ascription is permissible not least because of their formal proximity to physical fitness devices as in her series fuhrpark (2015) in which the objects are made of hot-dip galvanised steel with an electrostatic powder coating as well as concrete and moulded rubber.

The possibilities for association are manifold and, at the same time, consciously suggestive and ambiguous: along with the images of physical training and very possibly the sexual energy-charged atmosphere of the fitness studio, they evoke an interpretation as fetish objects. By means of this workgroup the court of desire is thoroughly conjugated. On the other hand, other objects are reminiscent of instruments of torture or call to mind practices from the field of BDSM – as in the case of the sculpture feuerbock in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross or that named after the artist’s patron saint, St. Antonia [hl. antonia], in the form of a vice.

While early works took physicality or physical exertion as their subject more directly –her video documented box performance wo die angst ist geht es lang (2005), for example – Schmale’s current sculptural work seems more abstract. In place of a direct representation of the body there is an empty space, which is palpable and it induces us to imagine our own position. Her installations negotiate gender policy utopias and queer identities in a way that is unbendingly radical.

Toni Schmale, born in 1980 in Hamburg, lives and works in Vienna.