exhibition text Anna Schmidt
Center for Contemporary Art Karlsruhe
My own private Idaho
„If one places a bouquet of flowers before the pycnoleptic and asks him to draw it, he draws not only the bouquet, but also the person who presumably placed it in the vase, even the meadow where the flowers were picked. In this he shows his habit of putting sequences together, of matching their outlines, and of establishing a correspondence between what one sees and what one cannot have seen, between what one remembers and what one apparently cannot remember.“ (Michael Althen)
Anna Schmidt‘s paintings often feature human figures, often in the form of boys or male characters. These figures symbolize the complexity of relationships, history, and identity. Through their facial expressions, gestures, and postures Anna Schmidt conveys their struggles, hopes, and fears. The characters are also a reminder of the resilience needed to face the challenges of displacement and cultural integration. Through her figures, she is able to explore issues such as trust, origin, and interpersonal behavior. The characters are also often connected to their surroundings in a way that reflects the personal and collective experience of displacement and adaptation. They represent the human spirit’s ability to find hope and beauty even during difficult times. Her work is closely tied to the film „My Private Idaho“, which tells the story of two young men‘s journey of self-discovery. „My Own Private Idaho“ , a title that persists, a history with exactly the contents that occupy Anna Schmidt in her work as a painter. First of all, the title, following the story of the film, seems inviting. One follows the words: MY, OWN , PRIVATE, IDAHO. From these words emerges a strong, possessive, a somewhat naive like sentence with an emotional, subjective meaning. The last word“ Idaho“ creates an image. One thinks of a highway, the States, a road trip, a period of self-discovery, movement, insights. Once again a typical American film. However, important for the 90s.
I wonder why this title occupies my head in a different way.
What is my own, what belongs to me and what is private?
MY OWN PRIVATE, is an exaggerated utopia. An extreme state that cannot be reached. A dream, perhaps the greatest Anna says. Since Anna Schmidt had to learn to let go of places, people, possessions, freedoms, this title gives her the greatest possible freedom : „MY OWN PRIVATE“, to define.
I can‘t own anything, anyone. I can‘t call something my own. Private happens in the mind. However, since I can paint, I can consciously experience MY OWN PRIVATE for the first time. I have the right to represent all these words, as a picture, as a story. I believe this is my first OWN PRIVATE, IDAHO moment, which in fact no one can take away from me.