The opening of Helen Schoene’s exhibition, Unpicking through repetition, at the Galerie Eboran in Salzburg on Thursday, was a performance in more ways than one. She “performed” the introduction, playing the role of Matthew Webber, whose talk considered notions of “partition” and “repetition” in historical, etymological and philosophical modes. The performance itself was self-repeating, playing with the audiences’ concepts of original and imitation. Every art work, is a “representation” or a “repetition”, as the “reality is always receding into the past”. But this also highlights the absurdity of the very notion of originality, resulting in “a hundred million different version of reality, all of which are real”.
Schoene’s work examines concepts of repetition and imitation, representation and inspiration. Her art includes drawing, paintings, prints and photocopies. By its very nature it is hard to define. One wall presented the viewer with numerous copies of an image of a vegetable, each coloured differently, and each accompanied by a seemingly random text. But the texts were not so random: they were song lyrics, taken from such classic masters as Dion, the Shangri-Las, and the Beach Boys. And they carried a resonance which belied the simplicity of the images. As Al Jardine sang, “Oh my, how she boogalooed it to me”.