Selected works by Aurel Schmidt

Aurel Schmidt
Body Swallows World


Pencil, colour pencil, acrylic on paper

46.4 x 72.4 cm

Aurel Schmidt’s Body Swallows World is inspired, in part, by Théodore Rousseau’s The Forest in Winter at Sunset (c1846-67) in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where the artist lives and works.
Rousseau’s painting– a huge and gloomy autumnal scene, with complex interlacing of tree branches and roots – provided a template for Schmidt’s investigation of landscape as both external terrain and projection of the inner life of the body. Taking its title from Mikhail Bakhtin’s 1940s book Rabelais and his World (in which the author discusses the carnivalesque, a chaotic celebration of bodily sensuality), Schmidt’s work treads a fine balance between the grotesque and the refined. A meticulously rendered sylvan scene of dense woodland at the edge of a still lake dissolves into teeming life on closer inspection.
That delicate forest floor in gentle ochres and greys is, in fact, a carpet of squirming maggots; what looked like a tree stump is a huge curl of turd, with inquisitive fly; fat, intestinal caterpillars dangle from the branches, like anacondas. As an allegory of worldly decay, Schmidt’s work embeds the horror of human decomposition in an image of its opposite: the bucolic, regenerative landscape of Rousseau’s Romantic escapism. But Bakhtin’s carnival is here too: there’s a wild and gleeful celebration at the heart of Schmidt’s work, with its festoons of squiggling creepy-crawlies standing in for streamers and bunting, a party at the end of the world where no-one gets out alive.

Aurel Schmidt's Biography

Aurel Schmidt
Born in 1982, Kamloops, BC, Canada
Lives and works in New York, NY


Summer Bummer, The Fireplace Project, 851 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, New York

Man Eater, Deitch Projects, 76 Grand St. New York

Burn Outs, Deitch Projects, 96 Greene Street, New York
Body Swallows World, Peres Projects, 969 Chung King Road, Los Angeles


Reverse Engineering, The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY
Apparatus, M&B Gallery, LA
PAPER, Saatchi Gallery, London

Happy Holidays! Drawings! Alex Zachary, New York, NY
Night Scented Stock, curated by Todd Levin, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
New York Minute, Curated by Kathy Grayson, Garage Center of Contemporary Culture, Ulitsa Obraztsova, Moscow

Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, Curated by Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari,New York, New York, NY
Art on Paper 2010, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
It’s all American, The New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art (NJ MoCA,) Curated Alex Gartenfeld and Haley Mellin, Paramount Theater,New Jersey
Saccharine, Curated by Ana Finel Honigman and Nadja Velben, Grimmuseum, Berlin
A.D.D. Attention Deficit Disorder, curated by Benjamin Godsill, Centro d'Arte Contemporanea Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary, Trevi, Italy

Investigations of a Dog, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin,
New York Minute, Curated by Kathy Grayson, Macro Future Museum, Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4, Rome
Galleria Paolo Curti/Annamaria Gambuzzi & Co., Curated by Kineko Ivic, Via Pontaccio 19, Milan, Italy
Andrea Rosen Gallery, Gallery 3, 525 W 24th St, New York, NY
Get a Rope, CTRL Gallery, Curated by Kathy Grayson, 3907 Main Street, Houston

Off, Off Bowery, Colette, 213 Rue Saint-Honore, Paris France,
Mail Order Monsters, Curated by Kathy Grayson, Max Wigram Gallery, 99 New Bond Street, London I Want Some Sugar in My Bowl, Asia Song Society, 45 Canal Street, New York, New York, August 9-August 24
My Happy Demons, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, 163 Eldridge street, New York, New York
Mail Order Monsters, Curated by Kathy Grayson, AMP Gallery, Epikourou 26 & Korinis 4, Athens

Fractured Figure, Deste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art, Filellinon & Em Pappa street, Athens
Dream and Trauma, MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna

Panic Room, Deste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art, Filellinon & Em Pappa street, Athens, Greece
Tinyvices, Curated by Tim Barber, Spencer Brownstone Gallery, 39 Wooster Street,
New York