Michael Schmid

11.06.2022 –


Opening | 11 June | 19:00

It was very early in the morning, the streets clean and deserted, I was on my way to the station. As I compared the tower clock with my watch I realized it was much later than I had thought and that I had to hurry; the shock of this discovery made me feel uncertain of the way, I wasn't very well acquainted with the town as yet; fortunately, there was a policeman at hand, I ran to him and breathlessly asked him the way. He smiled and said: “You asking me the way?” “Yes,” I said, “since I can't find it myself.” “Give it up! Give it up!” said he, and turned with a sudden jerk, like someone who wants to be alone with his laughter.

Franz Kafka: Give It Up!, 1922 (trans. Tania and James Stern)

Michael Schmid’s photograph SNCF depicts a section of train seat upholstery used by the French state railways. The combination of extreme magnification and colour reversal brings the structure of the fabric to the fore. Both textural symmetry and variation are clearly visible. The ink application of the logo glues some threads together while the colour is simultaneously also spread out by the texture. We need photography, magnification and colour reversal, to be able to see this. The fact that we are dealing a small extract becomes apparent if we consider the cropping of the company emblem. The texture, with its symmetry and variation, as well as its slight agglutination due to the ink application, can therefore be pictured as if continuing in all directions ad infinitum. Much like a rail network – be it French, European, or global. A structure stretches itself out, tolerating interruptions by signs that appear on the map as place names, between which people and goods are transported.