Press Office Exhibition

SFMOMA and CCA Wattis Institute Present Markus Schinwald

Released: August 07, 2014 · Download (468 KB PDF)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in partnership with the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts will present Markus Schinwald, on view at the Wattis Institute from September 9 through December 13, 2014.

This exhibition by Austrian artist Markus Schinwald (b. 1973) marks his first major commission for a U.S. institution. The site-responsive installation will include an architectural intervention that changes the physical and psychological potential of the gallery, providing a display apparatus for Schinwald’s paintings and sculptures. Part of SFMOMA’s On the Go program, the exhibition continues the museum’s long-standing New Work series, which features work by innovative contemporary artists. For the Wattis, this project inaugurates a new exhibition program developed by its recently appointed director, Anthony Huberman.

Schinwald’s work focuses on the body and the way that it manifests physical and psychological constraints. Using a range of media—painting, sculpture, photography, video, performance, and installation—he creates fragmented narratives in which objects, images, and spaces have newly amplified aspects or forms. Bodies, in particular, are manipulated, transformed, covered, and obscured in ways that impart a sense of unease. An important concept for Schinwald is the prosthesis. This idea of a correction, a joining of two disparate parts to create something new, connects to the way that the artist approaches his paintings, sculptures, and architectural interventions.

His studies of movement and gesture often extend to the viewers in his installations. Intentionally added alterations, such as physical barriers and walls that a viewer must walk or peer through, function like a necessary extension of the space. At the Venice Biennale in 2011, Schinwald turned the Austrian pavilion into a maze-like environment in which visitors were forced to navigate walls that hung from the ceiling and ended at waist height. Visitors’ legs, cut off and exposed, were occasionally glimpsed among views of paintings and sculptures at varying heights.

Schinwald begins his paintings by purchasing 19th-century canvases at auction. He then introduces new elements such as braces, jewelry, chains, or head coverings, based on a careful study of the figure and the surface. These painted additions, often executed with the help of a conservator, blend with the original image, as if they were always part of the image or form. The introduced constraints at times act like theatrical props, imbuing the figures with a new persona. A similar shift occurs in Schinwald’s retooling of Chippendale-style table legs. Instilled with a heightened sense of agency, his sculptures appear to bend and stretch, crawl up walls, or wrap around bronze poles.


Exhibition Dates:             September 9–December 13, 2014

Location:                          CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
                                         360 Kansas Street
                                         San Francisco, CA 94103

Hashtag:                          #SchinwaldSF


Markus Schinwald is co-curated by Anthony Huberman, director of the CCA Wattis Institute, and Jenny Gheith, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA.

A free brochure will be produced in conjunction with the exhibition.


Curator Quotes:

Jenny Gheith, Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture, SFMOMA

“Uncanny and psychologically stirring, Schinwald’s structures unfold like a body with artificial limbs and joints, connecting sculptures that exude anthropomorphic qualities and paintings of figures whose personalities are amplified by the braces and masks joined to their skin.

“There is a clear sense of metamorphosis, manipulation, and even deviance throughout as constraint is positioned against agency and inhibition leads to self-determined character development.”

Anthony Huberman, Director and Chief Curator, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

“Working with Jenny and with the artist over the past year to develop this exhibition and site-specific installation has been an inspiration. Schinwald’s work and ideas have the ability to disrupt some of our most commonly held assumptions about the way the body coexists with objects, and I look forward to an active dialogue about the work with our visitors.”


About Markus Schinwald

Born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1973, Schinwald studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Linz and Humboldt University in Berlin, and currently lives and works in Vienna. In 2011, he represented Austria at the 54th Venice Biennale. He has had solo exhibitions at CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); Sala Verónicas, La Conserva Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Murica (2012); Kunstverein Hannover (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2009); Migros Museum, Zurich (2008); Aspen Art Museum (2006); MAMbo, Bologna (2006); CAC Brétigny (2006); Frankfurter Kunstverein (2004); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2001).

About SFMOMA’s New Work Series

Since 1987, SFMOMA’s New Work series has provided a platform for experimentation: a space for artists to develop or premiere a body of work or present existing work in a new context. Initiated with the support of SFMOMA’s Collectors Forum, the series focuses on the innovative ideas and visions of national and international artists, and has played a key role in shaping the breadth and character of the museum’s collection and programming. Through New Work, SFMOMA has organized early exhibitions with artists such as Matthew Barney, Marilyn Minter, Kara Walker, and Christopher Wool, all of whom received their first solo museum shows through the New Work series. Additionally, New Work has featured Richard Aldrich, Phil Collins, Trisha Donnelly, Vincent Fecteau, Rachel Harrison, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Lucy McKenzie, Tatsuo Miyajima, Wangechi Mutu, Anna Parkina, Mai-Thu Perret, Alessandro Pessoli, R. H. Quaytman, Mika Rottenberg, Doris Salcedo, Felix Schramm, Ranjani Shettar, Paul Sietsema, Luc Tuymans, Katharina Wulff, and Andrea Zittel, among many others.

Exhibition Organization

Markus Schinwald is jointly organized by the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is part of the New Work series at SFMOMA, which is generously supported by SFMOMA’s Collectors Forum, the founding patron of the series. Generous support is provided by Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, Patricia W. Fitzpatrick, and Station to Station. Additional support provided by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

About the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

Founded in 1998, the CCA Wattis Institute is an internationally recognized exhibition venue and research institute. An artist-centered institution, it supports and presents the newest and most relevant contemporary artists working today via exhibitions and events. Operating under the umbrella of an educational institution, it is also committed to longer-term initiatives such as research forums, residencies, reading groups, and publications. As the city’s “Kunsthalle,” the CCA Wattis Institute is a central hub and gathering place for the contemporary art community in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Jill Lynch 415.357.4172 jilynch@sfmoma.org
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org
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