Born 1980, Hamburg, Germany
Lives and works in Vienna
1. Bettwurst (Bed sausage), 2014
Concrete, glass stones, steel
2. Feuerbock (Firedog), 2015
Hot-galvanized steel, powder-coated steel
Courtesy Christine König Galerie, Vienna
Toni Schmale creates a kind of setting within which the subject winds up in a tension-laden relation to the objects she has created. The objects carry sexual connotations that the artist usually addresses head-on in titles like queening machine, kontaktgrill (contact grill), lap, fisting, streckbank martha (martha rack), feuerbock (firedog), bettwurst (bed sausage), analdusche (anal douche) and I HID MY FACE IN HER BURNING LAP. These open up an imaginary space in which different fantasies are activated, depending on the viewer, that Schmale—and this is where the lucidity of her art reveals itself—captures in the perfectionist metal and cement aesthetic of her works.
Schmale’s sculptures oscillate between the appearance of everyday object, equipment, furniture, and architectural detail, while actually being none of them. Instead, they are abstractions of these respective objects of reference. They also evoke references to Pop and Minimal Art, while at the same time distancing themselves conceptually from them. In the case of the first, it is because they transcend the everyday object and, in the latter, it is because the individual components the sculptures are made of could in themselves be minimalist objects.
Schmale sees her sculptures in direct reference to the body, albeit not in an anthropomorphic sense. How these act toward the body and conversely, how the body reacts to them (what an involvement with them might be like) are questions she leaves open.