media borders –
Roland Schappert

Rainer Berthold Schossig, 2004

Those crossing the borders between the genres move in almost impassable territory. There are few cleared paths beyond the main roads; instead, there are „slippery slopes“, steep, dangerous terrains between the solid grounds of the established. Roland Schappert (born in Cologne in 1965) works on the interface between the media drawing and video, poetry, music and trivial literature. In his computer-enhanced pictures and films, in his graphical and lyrical commentaries, which mirror the zeitgeist in a seemingly naive way, worlds which are otherwise neatly separated by fashion unexpectedly topple into each other. Schappert is an art historian, philosopher and artist; in a highly reflective manner, he employs various techniques of transforming the already transformed, thus making painful reference to the problematical way our perception is moulded by the media. From banal and elaborated techniques like MTV clips or video loops, polaroid or cyberspace, plotter print, soft porn and fashion watercolours, he mixes furious visual cocktails, bridges the waves and tides of our emotions and the shallows of trendy taste. When, for example, Schappert presents compressed (i. e. data-reduced) pictures of apparently virgin mountain ridges on the tourist island Majorca, and, with borrowed energy, he electrifies this unreal fossilised, strangely vigour-less landscape with the artificial eroticism of well-rounded, candy-coloured cybergirls, this process both reveals and conceals the artist’s position between nature and media. What is portrayal, what is replica? Where does reality end; where does artificiality begin? What is truth, what is fake? Schappert lays traps for the observer, but also gives him a visual helping hand through such deceptions when he subtly reworks original Reality TV or topical news broadcast material, contextualising familiar clichés in a surprising new way. He places himself consciously in the Aesthetic tradition from Goethe to Proust, whose culturally tutored view still perceived in the Natural in the first place an echo of a work of art. Nowadays, it is, however, not so much recollections of products of advanced civilisation, classical sculptures or paintings which make us – assailes by the abundance of supposedly real pictures – have doupts about authenticity altogether, but rather those irriations which come from related user interfaces, banal pathetic formulas from the worlds of consumerism and advertising. Roland Schappert’s hybrid photos, films and drawings tell of the fragmentation of life through the mass-media, of the dregs of the dregs of discourses, in the dramaturgy of TV film clips or Internet links, thin-skinned stories, fictions of sex, lies and video, the rated shear points of which become visible in a dually oppressive way in the White Cube.

ZEICHNUNG vernetzt, Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst, 2004, Katalog