Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher works as a visual artist and as a scenographer for various galleries and artists. He studied at the Master’s program Bühnenbild_Szenischer Raum from 2015 to 2017 .

You previously studied fine arts. What expectations did you have when you started the Master’s degree in Stage Design_Scenic Space and did your goals change during your studies?
I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in 2010. For the following five years I had a studio at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and continued to work as an artist. In order to be able to finance my life and art, I regularly worked in art galleries setting up exhibitions. As I had access to a great workshop through my position in the sculpture workshop, I was able to realize and carve more and more scenographies for exhibitions.
Switching between creating art, scenographic design and working in art galleries motivated me to continue my studies – I saw it as a good opportunity to further expand and combine my various activities. The idea of the overall planning of exhibition scenographies really appealed to me.
During my studies, I realized that hands-on work is essential for me and that I have a very strong affinity for materiality. Purely planning, architectural work felt incomplete to me.

Did you continue to focus on the scenography of exhibitions during your studies?
I actually went into my studies with open expectations. In principle, I was more familiar with the exhibition space and wanted to continue my education in this area. But I was just as curious to get to grips with the work of a stage designer at the same time. What personally fascinates me more about the scenic space is the immediate proximity to the architecture – that you yourself are the protagonist in the space and are therefore physically involved.

Were you able to make contacts in the world of work during your practice-oriented studies at the TU? And what did your entry into practice look like?
Unfortunately, not so much. However, I have to say that I had several opportunities to continue concentrating on my own artistic work immediately after graduating and so I wasn’t actively involved in stage design or scenography.

What do your fields of work look like today? Which partners do you work with and where do you work?
I am a sculptural artist and also work as a freelancer.
In my artistic work I am mainly in my own studio and work specifically for exhibitions. Over the years I have worked freelance for several artists and galleries and was mainly involved in the planning and realization of various projects, exhibitions or objects. In part, I therefore take care of the entire planning and realization of exhibitions. This mainly concerns the construction of scenographies, furniture, etc…

Is your professional life compatible with your private life/family?
Not at all, because unfortunately the working days tend to be very long. Worrying about the timely implementation of projects can sometimes rob you of sleep. During the work phases, it seems practically impossible to be involved in the outside world.

Let’s take a look back: How formative was studying at the TU for your work today?
I think it’s always good when you have to get out of your comfort zone and deal with ways of working that are less familiar to you. Thinking in models and the more conceptual approach to spatial design have definitely made me rethink my planning.

Thank you Eric and good luck with your future work!

Interview by Maria Dannecker, January 11th 2023