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Pieter Schoolwerth, „Today’s Outside Critique (Rigged #13)“, 2022

Pieter Schoolwerth

Today’s Outside Critique (Rigged #13) (2022)

Pieter Schoolwerth has long been involved in depicting the human figure, exploring its shifting status in an increasingly digitalized world characterized by highly abstract social relations. Over the past decade, the US artist has developed a complex multimedia process utilizing painting, sculpture, printmaking, and computergenerated imagery to represent the elusive, essentially decentralized space of the virtual. Schoolwerth’s edition for TEXTE ZUR KUNST is a reproduction of a painting from his “Rigged” series (2022), which unfolded over two recent exhibitions, one at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler in Berlin, the other at Petzel Gallery in New York. Departing from the expression “everything is rigged,” which became ubiquitous on both the far left and alt-right during the last election cycle in the United States, Schoolwerth utilized CGI animation software to compose delirious narrative paintings out of digital assets purchased online. The work conflates the rigged skeleton of a 3D model with technological infrastructure; layers of the human figure are warped, distorted, and peeling off of the physical body, dramatizing the contemporary split of public and private life in an age of performative identity construction. The composition stages a dystopian art critique wherein a student is presenting her new “body of work” to her peers and a visiting curator. The edition’s title, “Today’s Outside Critique (Rigged#13),” suggests the challenge for criticality to exist in an age where the fantasy of seamless virtual immersion threatens to disable the possibility of an outside space from which to speak and form opinions independent of the platform economy’s algorithmic decisions.