Press Release Art Basel 2022

Art Basel, Hall 2.0, Booth B2
Monday, 13.06.2022, to Sunday, 19.06.2022

René Schmitt is proud to present a solo presentation of the highly accomplished Berlin based artist
Via Lewandowsky.

The Great Split (2022), Series of 7 silk screen prints, painted, 85 x 120 cm, edition of 10


An absolutely normal day.

An absolutely normal day – that’s the title of Via Lewandowsky’s presentation for Art Basel. Absolutely normal… really?

During the last time of political change of epochal dimensions, Via Lewandowsky was a young artist seeking his way out of the GDR. He had already managed to cross the border before the fall of the Berlin Wall. His young family, however, had embarked on a passage towards Hungary in hopes of filtering themselves through the iron curtain – with an uncertain outcome. It was really not clear if and when the family would meet again.

Again we are experiencing a deeply transformational turning point in time – and Via Lewandowsky returns to a body of works with which he had caused a sensation after the fall of the Wall. Then as now, he uses collages and drawings, taken from medical and scientific publications to create existential images of bodies and objects in absurd and surreal manner to describe the end of euphemistic visions for the future of totalitarian provenance. Instead his works communicate as tangibly dystopian psychograms of social motifs and pictorial landscapes.

The Great Split (2022), Series of 7 silk screen prints, painted, 85 x 120 cm, edition of 10

The shedding of blood in the Ukraine war marks the beginning of a new stage in world history, and Via Lewandowsky once again deals with the psychological collateral damage of authoritarian regimes. Then as now, supposed ideological certainties become mental pressure chambers in which the transformation of objective realities degenerates into a Kafkaesque nightmare.

Motivated such, the artist created seven editions for presentation at Art Basel, “The Great Split” (2022), executed as silkscreens and painted over individually, to become variants of a ‘motif’. These prints also form the background for a staging of very different objects and sculptures, connected to each other by a methodical investigation into the linguistic constitution of reality.

These objects are energised by the surprises and unexpected turns that have always made up a large part of our lives. Despite weather forecasts, secret and other numerous information and forecasts services on the future, in everyday life major events often come unannounced. Why are we even surprised by the intrusion of the unexpected, the sometimes irrational, into our normalcy?

In his works, Via Lewandowsky has repeatedly examined past and present cataclysmic events in the private as well as in public spheres, mapping out their significance for aesthetic discourses as well as their impact on media as material, ultimately challenging all we want to believe in and how we think about it. He achieves this by transforming the experiences of the supposed banalities of everyday life into the singularities of his artistic objects.

Everything that is the Case (2015/2022), Street lamp, LED, mp3 player, 50 x 650 x 80 cm

At Art Basel, the presentation is organised around one central installation “Everything that is the Case” (2015/2022), in which the lantern of an overturned whip-shaped lamp spills onto the floor, ceasing to glow to the tune of upbeat bar music. Clustered around it are various objects and sculptures. On view is an apostrophe made of cut lead crystal that suddenly becomes a preciosity (“Splendor of Omission”, 2019), a Siemens factory clock with a dial that rotates backwards (“Accelerated Time”, 2005/2022), and a cassette recorder from which not only a song from a Guns n’ Roses concert intro but also stage fog seeps out (“Don’t cry”, 2005/2022). A piece of leaf-gilded woodchip wallpaper, from which the wood fibers were subsequently removed, becomes an intricately fashioned paper work (“Golden Cuts (With Every Fiber)”, 2020). ‘Mensch ärgere Dich nicht’ game pieces (“Ludo I-III”, 2022) insert themselves into the scene as life-size abstract sculptures like permanent guests.

Splendor of Omission (2019), Lead crystal, polished glass, mirror coated, 40 x 20 cm, edition of 6

These enigmatic narratives infuse Via Lewandowsky’s conceptual and aesthetic powers. The reevaluation of everyday experiences opens up possibilities for him to create pictorial revelations that make aesthetically tangible the ocean of irrationality beneath our perceived normalcy.

The presentation at Art Basel thus becomes an everyday laboratory of the absurdity of an ‘absolutely normal day’.

Accelerated Time (2005/2022), Siemens work-clock with backwards rotating clock-face diameter 35 cm, edition of 8


Lehrter Str. 57
Haus 6
10557 Berlin


RENÉ SCHMITT, located in Berlin and Westoverledingen, Germany, creates superb contemporary editions of works by internationally recognised artists including Art & Language, John Armleder, Luis Camnitzer, Michael Mueller, Lorraine O’Grady, Tal R, Kay Rosen, Peter Saul, Ulay and Rose Wylie.

RENÉ SCHMITT’s reputation is founded on a rare combination of close collaboration with artists and precision and expertise in the craft of printmaking. This results in one-of-a-kind portfolios of which each edition becomes an exhibition in its own right.

RENÉ SCHMITT is proud to be a member of the IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealers Association).

RENÉ SCHMITT is participating in Art Basel, Hall 2.0, Booth B2
from Monday, 13.06.2022, to Sunday, 19.06.2022.


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