Unknown Legend 1 (2014)
Sebastian Schrader is part of the Leipzig school and confronts topics such as the preoccupation with self and the ability to participate in society. His intricately rendered paintings push the boundaries of representation and complicate the epistemological logic of the real world. As his figures are oftentimes disintegrated into a dark background with no identifiable spatial orientation in his paintings, the interplay between figure and ground becomes a central formal concern.
Such a pitch-black background, punctuated by moments of geometric shapes, also appears in Unknown Legend 1. There are few hints as to whether the figure is in a real, identifiable setting, save for two white buckets in the background and pieces of rag on the floor. Meanwhile, the slouchy figure at the center also remains mysterious—although he is wearing a yellow garment that resembles a raincoat, layers of fabric seem to occupy where his face and limbs are supposed to be. Such anonymity is accentuated through a focused spotlight shed on the figure, further obscuring the relationship between the painting and its purported representation of an “unknown legend.”