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Blast Furnace of Civilization is Aurel Schmidt's latest installment from an ongoing series exploring the madness of capitalism. The first two iterations - both dubbed New Gods - offered a glimpse inside the mash-up of globalization and the collateral damage inflicted upon our imaginations. Santa Claus as shiva, Bowery bum lamps, wind chimes and chicken-winged cherubs are just a smattering of the imagery deployed here as if to suggest the absurd horror of a new neo-colonialism. The work bears witness - often in humorous relief - to a consumer culture where sacred symbols are reduced to tramp stamps and corporate branding passes for personality. "I'm interested in the history of objects," says the artist, "where they come from, the boardroom meetings in which they were conceived, the colors, the smells, the choices made for them and the intentions behind those choices." With her colored pencil drawings and first-ever painted ceramics, Schmidt demonstrates a reverence for the grotesque, a suspicion of the status quo and reveals the ghost inside the machine-made.
Schmidt was featured in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and since then has produced three independent solo exhibitions: Fruits which took place in an abandoned deli, NY (2013); New Gods NY and in Venice, Italy (2015). Her first solo exhibition was at Deitch Projects in New York (2008). Notable group exhibitions include those at Saatchi Gallery, London (2013 and 2011); Deste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art ( 2008); M+B Gallery (2014); Garage Center of Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011); Centro d'Arte Contemporanea Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary, Trevi, Italy (2010); and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2009). Schmidt is the subject of four monographs, the most recent published with Mörel Books including poems by the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Franz Wright.
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