VERONIKA SCHNEIDER – WELL TENDED COMPOUNDS –FIVE SCENARIOS FOR LIVING SPACE FOR HUMAN
BEINGS CONFORMING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF OUR SPECIES –ACCESSIBLE AND USABLE
Veronika Schneider was born 1980 in Dachau. She studied creative sculpture at the
Burg Giebichenstein College of Art, Kunsthochschule Halle. She lives and works in
An afternoon at the zoo. We are wandering along winding paths and instead of a melancholy
panther behind bars we come across a sloth in a dense grove of fibrous trees, an
alligator under a waterfall and an ibex on a synthetic resin slope. This species-appropriate
living space simulates nature in a small isolated world, reproduced as if it were
for a stage play. We find what is foreign to us presented in a natural framework.
The form of presentation is aimed to be as natural as we can judge it to be but the
portrayal of nature emerging in this way is very much man-made. It is a construction
that is reproduced in our heads, as images which become more and more similar. Being
inhabitants of this zoo the animals are given a quasi role. As in a "tableau vivant"
–each one as a representative of its individual species– they take responsibility
for an existing image of an animal.
Veronika Schneider reverses the point of view and reflects in her artistic work located
along the "paths and compounds" upon the human self-image within a social-societal
and local context. The "well-tended compounds" installation at five locations within
Halle Zoo concerns itself with the imbalance in power between the observing subject
and the observed object. Directly on the borderline between man and animal, at the
glass panes of the compound, she shows human living space meeting our requirements,
which have been reduced to basic activities. The stylised scenarios of human existence
are available to the zoo visitors for their own use. Civilised ways of behaviour
and the perspectives revealed by the animals' view of them become visible.
Veronika Schneider's installations and figures arise from the interfaces between
reality and contextual locations, between one's own perception and that of others,
and between alienation and assimilation. Assigned multi-level roles, standards and
corporeal images and normally to be found at real locations, they make use of the
material world of objects together with their character in reference to art and civilization
– as do the "well-tended compounds" at the zoo as well.