Encompassing sculptures as well as performative interventions, video pieces, and graphic art, the work of Toni Schmale scrutinizes social power relations and a hegemonic society’s stereotypical gender roles, which she counters with gender-political utopias served up with characteristically sly humor masking radical dauntlessness. Her metal, concrete, and rubber sculptures have the air of a fleet of dysfunctional machines while also calling up associations of fitness equipment and torture instruments, surveying a wide terrain crisscrossed by desires, from the yearning for physical perfection to practices of sexual gratification.
In her exhibition HOT HOT HOT, Schmale presents a series of new sculptural works she describes as “transitional objects”, an idea lifted from the theories of the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, whose work the artist has studied extensively. She is interested in the peculiar something that is part neither of the self nor of the other, instead marking a connection between the inner world and outward reality. An architectural intervention lends emphasis to the idea of transition: a long, empty corridor stretches before the visitor; at its far end, an opening on the left leads into the brightly illuminated gallery with the ensemble of sculptures – a gradual approach to the work staged as an extended intro.