Ein seltsames Spiel
Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen, Sankt Gallen
4 November 2023 – 21 January 2024

In her comprehensive solo exhibition, Agnes Scherer (*1985) condenses life-sized papier-mâché figures and paintings into stage-like settings. The title of the show, an allusion to the song Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel by Schlagersängerin Connie Francis, deals with the different ideas of romantic love and the power relationships associated with it. Common representations and narratives – including medieval rituals or wedding scenes – are broken up through symbolic shifts, thus focusing today’s gaze on these images.

A Strange Game follows Scherer’s research into cultural and art historical traditions. Overlapping and mutually intensifying representations of historical and contemporary narratives mix into a grotesque puppet theater. The sculptural figures populate the exhibition rooms as if they were on a film set or in a wax museum, without completely leaving the surface of the painted background. Manifestations of romanticized love – frequently used archetypes and symbols, as well as references from pop culture – shift into one another: image mechanisms are revealed, as are the reference systems of the artist and viewer.

Whether through the representation of jousting games or a wedding, Agnes Scherer’s spectacular and whimsical spatial backdrops are narrative and engaging. She uses forms of theater to give viewers insights into their debate, such as through a peep box or a diorama. The individual, self-contained scenes come together throughout the exhibition to create overarching moods and visual worlds. Status symbols of western capitalist societies (fast cars, smartphones, etc.) and blood-sucking vampires are on the same stage here.

In the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, the German artist takes up common concepts of heteronormative romanticism – in this way, the celebratory occasion of a marriage, in its artistic implementation, becomes the basis for important negotiations: the rehearsed event is revealed in the socio-political context in which it inevitably takes place. Agnes Scherer negotiates cultural customs and ritualized ideas humorously and in detail and invites the audience to take a look behind the scenes and their own habits.