Erik Schmidt (Herford, West Germany, 1968) studied illustration and painting at the Department of Design at the Fachhochschule in Hamburg between 1992 and 1997. He later attended the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and had residencies at the ACC Galerie in Weimer and at the Cité internationale des Arts in Paris. Like other German painters of his generation, he starts with photographic images from the media to make paintings with thick paste, dense brushstrokes and brilliant, biting colours straight out of a comic book or urban graffiti. His main subjects are the codes of social relationships and their staged consequences. Like stylised documentary forms, his paintings stem from the urban landscapes that form the stage for Occupy Wall Street activities, the German upper class’s hunting rituals, the state of the botanical gardens in New York, the huge plantations in Israel, and homosexual subjects in the representation of conventional masculinity. In a reconstructed and premeditatedly artificial way, his pieces reflect the existential experience, constantly shifting between integration and dissolution. His work has been increasingly on show since 2007, following an exhibition at the Marta Herford Museum in Düren curated by the legendary Jan Hoet.