"Where to begin with an oeuvre that is so contradictory and inconsistent, so complex and simple, so intimate and anonymous?
The landscapes appear as if they were the first (and the last?) pictures. Pictures that keep coming back a whole life long. Green in front and blue in back. Above them: nothing - a thin white sky. Is the sky part of the landscape? Is it part of the picture? 'I don't paint a landscape from the outside but only a picture that looks like the landscape', Albrecht Schnider says. So: landscape as landscape, as type. A nonexistent landscape - except that some of Schnider's landscapes could not be more typical. Prototypical model landscapes. Universal landscapes. Ideal landscapes. And soon an invisible breeze has wafted us out of nature and into art, into its history: to Perugino's landscapes, for instance - the scenes in the background of his Madonna paintings. Subordinate scenes where the really important things are happening. Namely? Nothing. Idylls. Moments of oblivious existence - now beyond recognition because existence itself is oblivious. Moments of happiness unrecognized that turn life into retrospective tragedy. Because the here and now can never be happiness?
Stylized as they are, these landscapes approach us like a provocation. Landscape has never looked like that before. This is art that reveals how nature is constructed. Exposing it, embarrassing it. That's how the world is made. Not so much created as made: layer by layer, superimposed, constructed. Here space depicts time. Nothing short of the Earth time of evolution. And yet we are not sure whether the gaze reaches into the pat, showing how landscape evolved, or whether these are in fact landscapes of future, possibly even landscapes that now only exist as landscapes: deserted, no longer inhabited by human or animal life.
The ideal landscape is colored in camouflage. Nature is camouflaged in art. Art in the guise of nature. Art wants to be nature - and can't. Art yearns for nature. It is a yearning unrequited. Art reveres nature. While nature no longer recognizes art because it has taken on abstract shape. Things possible in art are denied to nature. Everything is possible in art. Art is ideal nature.
Albrecht Schnider's landscapes are small. Little pictures, often measuring 16.5cm by 33 cm. Schnider has never painted a big picture devoted exclusively to the landscape. The truly vast dimension (mentally) is here played out in the smallest of spaces. The eye could spend forever tracing the up and down of the lines in his wonderful compositions. These icons in the horizontal format are postmodern votive images. To pray to. But they firmly - transparently - defy spiritual interpretation, for they show what is humanly possible. Nothing less. But nothing more either."
Excerpts from Albrecht Schnider - Helmhaus Zurich, A New Paradise or Shades of Things That Don't Exist, by Simon Maurer (2014)