Saulaman Schlegel

I am a multidisciplinary artist, currently experimenting with religious practices as a vehicle for expressing complex identity issues. My work focuses on non-binary gender roles, and explores the androgyny of Christian saints, martyrs, and Christ. I am confronting identity in terms of things, both societal and biological, one cannot remove or disassociate from, and finding poetry in the existence of those very things once alien. My work seeks to open a dialogue about queerness, and perceived and hidden identities.

I create performances and installations that resonate with the puritanical upbringings many Midwesterners endured growing up. The manifestations of the psychic struggle to outgrow problematic ideologies, while reckoning with our own shortcomings. I exhibit performances, and resulting artifacts/ installations, in combination with visual art, audio, and/or video works that often result in multi-sensory environments. Materials of interest include corn, found blankets and towels, along with latex rubber in raw, or balloon form. These materials are a meditation on race, object history, and a preponderance on sexuality, gender, and a reflection of my body (the body of the artist) as a canvas. Song and dance have also infiltrated my work, as an expression of joy and resonance in a place of worship -the gallery.

Major artistic influences include the likes of Joseph Beuys, Björk, Matthew Barney, Lou Reed, PJ Harvey, DJ Screw, Mykki Blanco, Yayoi Kusama, Marina Abramović, William Blake, and Klaus Nomi, to name a few. The personal importance of these artists, is that they constantly grapple with the androgynous nature of power, and the relationship between artist and viewer, action and result, coercion and product, both social and political. 

 

Saulaman Schlegel,

Child of corn, prairie, and major insurance firms,

Whispered and shouted is their name.

A suitcase full.

A furry skull

on earth, sea, and sky alike.

Given device for creation,

and forgiveness even in vilification,

as many forgive as are vilified too,

leading them into temptation,

but delivering truth in evil.

For theirs is a kingdom,

but not power, nor glory,

for ever or never

Amen.