The Kleinfamilie: Silke Schatz

5 July - 17 August 2003 Gallery

Silke Schatz draws initially from her own personal experiences to explore wider socio political ideals, using the structures of design and architecture to express her ideas. In this show, The Kleinfamilie  (father, mother, child), she refers to the myth of the traditional roles allocated to each member of the ‘nuclear family’. 


There are three works in the show and each work stands for one of the "Kleinfamilie". The first piece  Mothership, 2003, is a sculpture hanging from the ceiling made out of papermache covered inside  with inkjet prints of photographs from her private archive. The shape was influenced by the design of  the ‘moonlamp’ by Danish designer Verner Panthon. In some feminist and nature movements the  woman/mother has been associated with the moon and the word mothership is also used for spaceships which transport people to outer space to discover the universe. The round form of the piece is also a  continuing motive in her work - she sees it as the most independent sculpture she can think of - it  doesn’t need a base, but just hangs from the ceiling from one point and involves the whole room  around it. 


There is a largescale drawing, Elefantenhaus, 2003, in the second room,which represents the child. It is  a drawing of the elephant house at the Cologne Zoo where Schatz used to take her own child. It was built in 1864 in the oriental style to show the exotic, but also the colonialism of western society. The visits to the elephant house were very calming experiences surrounded by all the animals, but at the same time it was a sad contradiction watching the animals, who have been forced into man made surroundings. Schatz sees a parallel in the way a child lives within society’s conventions through the  influence of the parents. 


The work Vagina Cantata, 2003 on the first floor is dedicated to the father. There is a model 1:20 of  Studio 5, Accademia Tedesca, Villa Massimo in Rome were Schatz lives with her family at the  moment. From the model an electronic music piece (lasting two minutes) can be listened by activating  the CD player. The music was created by Matthias Köchling, from an original piece by Frank Zappa.  The bungalow, symbolic of the home and shelter for the family, is something people long for - a status symbol.  


Silke Schatz has shown recently at UCLA Hammer Museum Los Angeles, Apexart, New York, and  Kunsthalle Basel.