BREGENZ.- Dancing objects, object-like dancers, marionettes, costumes, fetishes, encoded stories that exist in the no-mans-land of dance, theater, film, object, and image the young Austrian artist Markus Schinwald (*1973 in Salzburg) gives the inanimate a personality and transforms people into puppet-like figures. The psychological study of space and body, the unease and the irrational depths of the individual and the collective being are themes in his work. Markus Schinwald playfully brings together the most diverse media from oppressive films to marionette-like sculptures, from reworked historical paintings to designs of prosthetics and clothing all subtly choreographed into a whole. With his films and built spaces, Markus Schinwald uses fragmentation and disjointed oneiric sequences to produce surprising gaps in the basic narrative structure of his works, leading to extremely aestheticizing images and crazy shifts of reality levels. With new and old series Markus Schinwald will stage a surreal and panoptic array of
insatiable wishes using bodies, objects, films, and built spaces in what will be his largest solo exhibition in Austria to date.
On the top three levels of the Kunsthaus Bregenz Markus Schinwald will set up sitcom studio sets which will each consist of a set of bleachers with an audience seating capacity of approximately 80; in addition, three flat screens, three TV cameras, and a stage backdrop will complete each scene.
For a few days prior to the exhibition opening and during the initial weeks of the show, the three cameras will be used to shoot 20-minute-long sitcom-like scenes based on a script and Schinwalds stage directions. During the exhibition these scenes will be played for the visitors on flat screen televisions.
On each of the three floors the sets will vary, and the episodes will be played by different five-person groups of protagonists. All sets, props, and costumes will be designed by the artist himself.
On the first floor the set is a raree-show-like stage, which uses large mirrored surfaces, a partition wall concealing a passageway, and a cabinet with a secret door for surprise appearances. Here five actors perform using the conventional means of language and gestures.
On the second floor the stage architecture is more open and porous. The space is divided by low partitions that can be used and passed through, and there will also be a nineteenth-century hearse cut in half. The protagonists on this floor will be five dancers who play their roles with the help of body language only. There is no speaking anymore; the sound track consists solely of music.
On the third floor the background stage architecture has virtually disappeared and been replaced by rotatable spatial elements. Gymnastics apparatuses uneven bars, horizontal bar, vaulting horse, rings, etc. which have been altered by the artist, are objects used for acting and exercising by five gymnasts. Language and music have been supplanted here by the sounds made when executing the exercises.
The sitcom is a genre that originated in the USA and which is found today almost exclusively on television. One typical characteristic of the classic sitcom is that it is recorded in the studio: the actors perform on a rareeshow-like stage: in indoor scenes the fourth wall and the ceiling are never shown. The storyline is usually limited to a few sets, which are retained and used over and over. The stage effect is emphasized through the actors tendency to perform toward the front of the stage and by the laughter of the studio audience, the so-called laugh track, which gives TV viewers the impression of being part of a live performance. This setting recording before a studio audience was retained in particular by three-camera sitcom productions until the late or mid-1990s.
Three- or multiple-camera setup: three cameras are positioned in a pit between the audience and the stage. One camera shoots a wide shot of the action; the other two concentrate on the active characters. The show is later edited using the film material shot of the same action from three different angles. This has remained the standard technique to this day.
Due to the trivial nature of the everyday situations portrayed in this genre, the sitcom has often also been called the show about nothing. Because it often addresses social customs and conventions, neurotic and obsessive behavior, and the mysterious mechanisms of human relationships, the sitcom could also be categorized as a comedy of manners in episode form.