Lara Schnitger’s fabric constructions sit uneasily as both sculpture and costume design; her figurative forms create grating parody caricatures of the most unsavoury types. I Want Kids lures with cuddly toy seduction, a goofy three legged monster decked out in Oshkosh B’Gosh plaid, its big hairy ‘slingshot’ dangling with Jolly Jumper enthusiasm. Outrageously perverse, Schnitger’s sculpture doesn’t downplay the morbidity of paedophilia, but rather questions the too-easy public perception of predators. In Brass Eye style, Schnitger addresses our darkest fears and taboos, using wry humour to expose a lurking reality.
Swathed in black with fuzzy face and dangling dreads, Lara Schnitger’s Grim Boy is the epitome of skulking teenager: grody, rank, and insipid. Draping fabric over a wooden frame base, Schnitger perfectly captures the awkwardness of physical development, disproportioned and gangly, torso bugling with the remnants of puppy fat, head thrust forward in a spit of aggression. Her jostling laugh at pubescent boorishness turns quickly to horror. In the light of Columbine, and the recent spate of goth gang murders and suicides, adolescent angst poses as real threat, a demon seed bread from cultural anxiety.
Using craft media, Lara Schnitger’s portrayals of cultural stereotypes are constructed as homespun ‘truths’, made more ’endearing’ and identifiable through their beguiling materials. Standing as aggrandised puppets, her figures are abstracted exaggerations confronting preconceptions and prejudices. Lost Hippie lumbers as a lumpy elephant of obsolescence, a virtual caravan of faded patchwork and love-bead nostalgia. An effigy of bygone innocent and idealism, Lost Hippie is met with satirical contempt and suspicion.
Working in domestic arts, Lara Schnitger’s knitted and sewn sculptures create a quirky brand of feminism. Swaddled in a patchwork of remnant fabrics, Tickler-Stick offers a dubious promiscuity. Stretching and bulging around its internal wood frame, Schnitger’s abstraction seduces with homespun tactility. Dressed up in feminine frills and alluring see-through lace, Tickler-Stick gives a weird corporeality to formalist design, suggesting something deeply naughty in traditional granny-craft.
Lara Schnitger’s 126 Inches of Fun towers as an Amazonian monument: pink, sexy, and larger than life. Stretched around a wooden support, lengths of silky fabric and black lace trestle an invisible bulking form like a ridiculously contrived girdle or fashion-disaster evening gown. Emblazoned with suggestive text Schnitger’s sculpture is an icon of feminine celebration, its diva-esque architecture posing as a bulwark of womanly wiles.
Lara Schnitger; My other car is a broom
Finally back in Holland! Stroom Den Haag presents the exhibition ‘My other car is a broom’ by the Dutch artist Lara Schnitger (1969, lives and works in Los Angeles). The presentation was previously on view in Magasin 3 in Stockholm (Sweden). Lara Schnitger’s work is characterized by an inventive use of textiles. She uses pieces of fabric to create both intimate sculptures and architectural installations. Her work, in which texts also play an important role, deals with eroticism, humour and politics. Richard Julin, the curator of the exhibition in Stockholm, writes about her: ‘Schnitger is a vital part of a young flourishing art scene in L.A. that is very active and multi-faceted. Her sculptures and installations combine a feeling of the metropolis with that of home-made craft.’
The title of the show, ‘My other car is a broom’, is taken from one of the texts Schnitger incorporated in the installation ‘Gridlock’. A large network made of fabric features numerous bumper sticker texts referring, amongst others, to the election campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry (Schnitger was very active in her support for the latter). The work also refers to Japanese construction sites and prayer flags Schnitger saw during her travels in Tibet.
Lara Schnitger: Triple Candie / Anton Kern
In the hands of Harlem, Holland-born artist Lara Schnitger, the Harlem gallery Triple Candie resembles a crime scene, all wrapped up in that familiarly forbidding yellow tape. But instead of the warning “POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS,” Schnitger’s wraps contain text fragments familiar to surreptitious late-night websurfers: “POPPIN’ FOAMING FANNIES,” for instance. The euphemistic language of fetish porn frames the viewer’s every move at Triple Candie; you can hardly concentrate on Schnitger’s equally explicit sculptures without glancing up to read “SMELL MY PIE SWEET MEAT” or “TRIPLE CANDIE” (a coy demonstration the gallery’s own orgiastic implications for the creative/dirty-minded) from the mock police tape that hangs in the air like a static news ticker broadcasting the libidinous fantasies of each visitor.
Schnitger’s work is the subject of concurrent gallery shows at Triple Candie and at Anton Kern Gallery; her eccentric, erotic sculptures are the main event in each. Her sculptural m.o. is to wrap a network of wooden planks in fabric, sometimes bearing color-coded associations—pantyhose brown, pink (common porn buzzterm for pussy, see PinkCandyShavers.com, PinkBabes.net, and GiveMePink.com)—and to accessorize with lace, tassels, “wads” of cotton, and fake hair (bush?). Several of these vaguely anthropomorphic structures are enveloped in transparent Lycra, revealing their wooden guts. Others wear uniforms made from opaque fabrics: silk scarves, dishtowels, plaids, sheets with cherry patterns (get it?).