Martin Schnapf

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What Is My Work About? 

Oracles (sculptures) fill a labyrinthine discotheque where only those disoriented enough to be knocked from the protections of mind can submit to the dissolution of self. If sexed at all, they are hermaphroditic having assumed the full spectrum of their sexuality. This trans-dimensional correlate finds itself transfixed by the collective, outer-body premonition of their ultimate demise. The vision sets up an imperceptible resonance of attraction and repulsion, locking them in a techno sexual vibration of longing and horror.Pictured in various details are 5 of the sculptures. This work is expanding with the addition of individual pieces and the transformation of the environment into a self-illuminating disco ruin. Embedded, LED lights are programmed to perform a seemingly random sequence. A sound composition interrupts this otherwise unaccompanied setting with a dreamlike mise en abyme through which the disparate elements momentarily unify.


Artist Statement

This work does not illustrate a preconceived narrative, nor explain previously considered theoretical concepts. What follows emerged from the work. The work did not emerge from what follows. The motives that precipitate actions very rarely speak to the meaning of those actions. Only the actions know their meaning.

It begins with a bomb. Time reverses then starts again in a place where already time operates out of sequence. The oracles, in spite of, or by virtue of, their humanity are holes, vacuums, conduits.

More often than not, those ideas, which are described as contradictory do not contradict one another but rather contradict assumptions about the physical or logical constructs within which they operate. These constructs, despite their ubiquity are just practical theories. Practical theories are of no interest here.

We meet the oracles at the moment of premonition when each simultaneously understands and experiences her annihilation but before they experience the bomb.

In so far as experiences of space are illusory and illusions habitual, the perception that objects are separate form subjects and that subjects can separate from themselves is merely a fluctuation in perspective, not a change in the ontological nature of being in time. Perspective is focus given privilege by habit. The concept of alterity then is just another practical construct intended to explain away the knowledge that existence is utterly inseparable.

Within their premonitions lay admissions. The oracles were pulled to this place by its special gravity, but were just as readily carried by a gravity within themselves.

Despite the common perception that reality consists of what is outside, it is in fact an expressive enfoldment. Here there are no separations, only cliffs, valleys, corners, protrusions that momentarily conceal other aspects of the whole.

A new club goer approaches from outside but is, by virtue of motivation or determination, already inside. He enters and now is outside. The others are dancing. He joins them. Structure and infrastructure- place, sound and lights move the collective as an ethereal armature supporting their physicality, contorting it, abstracting it.

Practical theory supposes that black holes are not holes at all, but accumulations of such extreme mass that even light cannot escape their gravity. If black holes were, rather, ruptures in space-time the enfoldment would open but nothing would escape. Time ruptured, would stop. The enfoldment would therefore remain intact, held together not by a barrier but by a pause.

The colored, changing, dappled, rhythmic lights, the various reflective, transparent, translucent and opaque surfaces, the conflation of real and imitated materials confuse the senses allowing consciousness, if only briefly, to pull away.

Egress from the enfoldment can only occur through consciousness. Conscious, unconscious, and subconscious are different rooms within consciousness, the internal walls of which can be removed to achieve individuation, the external walls of which can be removed to achieve transcendence.

The oracles’ awareness floats above. From this vantage, their bodies seem like animated meat, elaborate vessels. Again a new person enters. But she cannot know that the souls of the others float above, for her own mind is so terribly curved back on itself that all she experiences is lensed by the mirrored walls of her own thoughts.

Consciousness is infinite. Therefore its walls seem infinitely far away. Their removal then cannot be affected by direct confrontation but only through transmittance. Here an ontological shift does occur. Sequential time is left behind and a state of duration achieved. In a state of duration, that which was infinitely far away is infinitely close. There is no separation between points.

The plastic is hot against her body and the tape pulls her skin as she walks. Repeat the verse. Repeat the verse, she tells herself, but she can’t find the rhythm. Without the rhythm, the words are lost. She is hollow.

Invisible but present deep within the corners of consciousness there exists a further enfoldment. Just as the membrane of time can be breached and the externality accessed through the removal of walls, so also can consciousness be turned inside out to reveal an equally infinite internality.

They go back to dancing. She watches them. She cannot tell whether they are men or women, old or young. The music changes and with it, the rhythm. She remembers the verse.

The arrival of consciousness in the internality occurs through a process of inversion that from the perspective of consciousness seems to enfold the externality as it opens the internality. In this gapless state of perfect duration, consciousness is no longer agent but agency.

She repeats the verse in her mind making sure to not forget a word. As she does this she slowly pulls her hand through the sleeve of her robe and lets her fingers run along her side, searching. The oracles continue dancing, seeming not to notice, but fully aware that a pause is on the horizon.




“Loss Release”

Working Title Festival, Brussels, Belgium 2009

Brussels Bravo Festival, Brussels, Belgium 2009

BNA-BBOT, Brussels, Belgium 2009

“The Swallows” Portland, OR 2007

“Dancepod” 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, NY 2006

Ballhaus Ost, Berlin, Germany 2006

Caranza 25, Passaguerro, Mexico City, Mexico 2006

Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR 2006



“One Night Black and White” Post, Los Angeles, CA 2014

“The Game is Up” Vooruit Arts Center, Ghent, Belgium 2009

“My Way to Say Things” Annessens, Brussels, Belgium 2009

“The Regularly Scheduled Electric Slide” In Clover, Portland, OR 2006

“Island Desk” On the Boards, Seattle, WA 2006



Wittenberg University BFA 1999

UGA Lamar Dodd School Of Art Studies Abroad in Cortona, Italy 1997



Artist in Residence: Masi Kolb Flex space, Los Angeles, CA 2014

Artist in Residence: Briggittines, Brussels, Belgium, 2009

Artist in Residence: Kaaistudios, Brussels, Belgium 2008-2009

Artist in Residence: Neon Gallery, Brosarp, Sweden 2009

Artist in Residence: BNA-BBOT, Brussels, Belgium 2009

Artist in Residence: P.A.I.N., Brussels, Belgium 2009

Artist in Residence: Workspace Brussels, Brussels, Belgium 2009

Artist in Residence: BLIK, Brussels, Belgium 2008

United Nations Plaza, Berlin Germany (accepted, could not attend) 2007

Regional Arts And Culture Development Grant, “Theif’s Requiem” 2008

Regional Arts and Culture Project Grant, “Dancepod” 2006

Regional Arts and Culture Project Grant, “Island Desk” 2005



Huntington Museum 2014

Fellows of Contemporary Art 2014

American Friends of the Israel Museum 2014

LAX Curators Council 2014

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego 2013

Fellows of Contemporary Art 2011