‘Costume’ at HINTER, Brighton - Lauren Schneider and Albert Schlemberger
HINTER is a tiny gallery in Hove, just outside Brighton, run by local artists Lauren Scheider and Albert Schlemberger (also known as Joseph Schneider) who also work in this space (just behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz). After being welcomed with Breton cider, I had the chance to talk to both artists about their work, their process, and their studio. It’s always great to get the chance to do this, as majority of artistic production is deeply personal, so understanding their motive lends a whole new facet to my interpretation.
Albert Schlemberger’s work responds directly to the material he works with, hence the unstretched and manipulated canvases covered in linear, textured forms. The below sculpture is almost animal with its rust coloured print, and different viewpoints lend different interpretations. I think at one point I saw a small, dilapidated monk-like figure, and I love the fact that it has this transformative quality. There is something distinctly human to it, a kind of shroud costume, which I found hard to pry from my interpretation. Schneider did discuss the possibility of future work becoming a costume, so that you would interpret the work by becoming a part of it yourself.
There’s a great consistency in Schlemberger/Schneider’s depiction of the human form, another painting I didn’t photograph showed this too, which had something very medieval and ancient about it. The tonality of the work is sombre and powerful, with a distinct earthiness to his response to the canvas, a strong taste of metal.
Lauren Schneider’s work is obsessed by the body, particularly its ability to be self-conscious and ridiculous which affects the way in which we see ourselves. The top sculpture is an obvious meditation on the harlequin; the legs are grotesquely morphed, its anatomy renders us unable to think of it walking. Therefore it exists as a surreal, inhuman figure, an absurd caricature of the assumed grace of a harlequin.
The lower sculpture plays on the idea of the bust, a classical depiction of a person’s likeness reserved for those worthy enough of a column. Lauren Schneider’s gradually built upon form is interesting, as there is a certain amount of constraint to the form around the neck of the bulbous head. Schneider herself talked about the presence of a nun’s Wimple, a symbol of virginity and sexual restriction, and perhaps a collar can be seen.
Looking at the process of Schneider’s work, you can see the ghost of its creation, the texture left by the polystyrene used to contain the plaster that formed the plinth is evident, which lends to its fragility. I won’t lie about the fact that I thought the base was part polystyrene, so being a naturally clumsy person, I was very aware that I could knock it over with a brush of my coat. However I think this lends to it’s strength, I’ve made it quite obvious in the past that I’m a big fan of Joseph Havel’s sculpture which casts the delicate in iron and plaster, so this evidence of process is fascinating.