Positionen, 1997

Series “Bags”

Video installation
Video projector, video player, videotape, three coated paper bags (epoxy resin), three acrylic resin consoles

Three paper bags are placed side by side at eye level on the wall. They become the screens for a video that shows womens' legs – barefoot and filmed up to the knee – moving up and down, pausing, stepping out of the picture and into the picture. Each bag is assigned to a pair of legs. The everyday object becomes the image carrier; the projection breaks and is distorted, in the edges and in the crinkles.

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It is irritating and interesting at the same time that these seemingly continuous movements are only partially visible on the paper bags – the legs enter or leave the picture, but after or in-between they are no longer visible; on the other hand, the scene looks like one is stepping onto a fictional catwalk, the legs moving towards each other, dodging, adopting, almost reluctantly, a position in a cramped posture, then speculatively transgressing the outer frame of the technically sophisticated video installation.

Ruth Schnell is also interested in a confrontation between the practice of the body and the associated projections, the anatomical nature of womens'´ legs and their relation to the constructed sexualization.

The artist uses the simple bags as three-dimensional screens, in a similar way to the digital advertising spaces that are often found at train or subway stations – both virtual architectures in every respect – promising the satisfaction of all needs and guaranteeing an unfulfilled desire.

Priska Graf, in: Maßstäbe weiblicher Beweggründe. Zum Werk "Positionen" von Ruth Schnell

2000, La casa, il corpo, il cuore, National Gallery, Prague (CZ)
1999, La casa, il corpo, il cuore, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, 20er Haus, Vienna (AT)
1999, Jahrhundert der Frauen, Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna (AT)
1998, prêt à porter, Grita Insam Gallery, Vienna (AT)
1998, Positionen zeitgenössischer Kunst, Austrian Parliament, exhibition hall, Vienna (AT)
1997, Ruth Schnell, Galerie Lisi Hämmerle, Bregenz (AT)