Andi Schmied is an artist based in Budapest, Hungary, whose work has rarely been shown in the UK. Schmied’s work explores urban landscapes, looking at the psychological patterns that lie within them and their broader socio-political contexts. Schmied has undertaken visits and residencies in various locations around the world including China, USA, Japan, Greece and Israel, seeking out places that seem to defy logic, or which highlight spaces of privilege and socio-economic inequality
For John Hansard Gallery, Andi Schmied is presenting two major projects, Jing Jin City and Private Views, both undertaken since 2015.
Jing Jin City (2015-2016),is an exploration of a newly-built luxury resort town outside Beijing. Despite containing approximately 3000 luxury villas, a 5-star hotel and a golf course, the city remains incomplete, in limbo, and with barely any occupants. The advertising brochures promise ‘an ideal life’, but Schmied focuses instead on the secret life held within this gated community, which centres on the small army of gardeners and guards who keep the city in perfect order and make up most of its inhabitants. Their activity maintaining the illusion that the city is occupied and functioning as planned.
Private Views (2016-ongoing), reveals spaces of privilege and the world of the elite in New York. Schmied adopted a fictional personae, ‘Gabriela’, and made numerous appointments with real estate agents claiming to be interested in purchasing a penthouse apartment that had outstanding views across the city – such spectacular views only being available to the mega-rich. ‘Gabriela’ visited 35 of the most luxurious skyscrapers in Manhattan, and secretly documented the viewings. The resulting iPhone footage and photographs reveal the surreal conversations and strange strategies of persuasion used by the agents to sell the idyllic lifestyles that the sales brochures promise.