Dierk Schmidt

“SIEV-X – On a case of intensified refugee politics” or Géricault and the Question Concerning the Construction of History

9 April to 6 September 2009

Dierk Schmidt’s 19-part cycle of pictures “SIEV-X – On a case of intensified refugee politics” from 2001–2003 is a history work, a political statement, and a reflection on the possibilities of painting in our day all in one. In these pictures presented in the Städel, the artist, who was born in Unna in 1965 and lives in Berlin, links a scandalous case of failure to give assistance and disastrous Australian refugee politics in 2001 with one of the central works of European history painting: Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa” from 1819. Schmidt’s painting is the result of an investigative process. It reveals how the shipwreck of the French frigate “Medusa” and the deliberately accepted death of hundreds of boat people off the coast of Australia amazingly resemble each other both structurally and aesthetically. A further point of reference is Eugène Delacroix’ painting “Liberty on the Barricades”. Dierk Schmidt’s cycle of pictures was a new accession to the collection of the Städel Museum in 2009 and was purchased with means of the “Städel Komitee 21. Jahrhundert”.

Images: Dierk Schmidt, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

CURATOR: Dr. Martin Engler, Städel Museum