Memories â€“ oneâ€™s own and those one inherits â€“ are a central concern of Silke Schatzâ€™s approach to making objects. She describes the drawn line as â€œthe extension of a thoughtâ€, and her spectral drawings of buildings designed in her hometown of Celle, Germany by modernist architect Otto Haesler have the quality of memoryâ€™s unstable presence in the mind.
Similarly, in her mixed media mobile Mothership,
Schatz recreates twentieth-century aesthetics in terms designed to show up its distance from the present. Concentric rings of cardboard, painted in dazzling hues and inlaid with text and photographic clippings from newspapers, hang from the ceiling, like a modernist chandelier, revealing and concealing their interiors as they turn. Like the memory of an object once seen and held in the mind, Schatzâ€™s work is a wilfully quixotic object, the lightness and frailty of its construction part of its examination of memoryâ€™s failures.
Much like medieval â€˜memory palacesâ€™ â€“ imagined architectural structures, designed to aid in memorising texts â€“ Schatzâ€™s drawings attempt to impose the logical structure of actual space on the messy stuff of human thought. Like the partiality of memory, architectural drawings show an ideally unpopulated vision of the world; their ruled perfection is a kind of expunging of human unpredictability. Schatzâ€™s drawings accept this, overlaying spatial information in complex layers, rendering the imagined space of utopian modernism uninhabitable and distant.
Text by Ben Street