Yves Zurstrassen

Ten Years

December 10, 2022 - February 25, 2023

Yves Zurstrassen

Ten Years

December 10, 2022 - February 25, 2023




 

10 YEARS


To discover a painting by Yves Zurstrassen, to “see” it, is, first and foremost, to slide, to dance even… on a surface, and then to dive into a world of endless connections, to return to the plane, change direction, and speed, and get lost in its depth, blinded by the intensity of a color palette that opens up the space.


These paintings often recount his pictorial journey through the inventions he came up with over the last forty years, as well as the history of painting. With Zurstrassen, painting is not a “second nature” but the very first element in which he bathes and “swims”, as Herman Melville would say about writing. If the artist here recaptures all these elements, it is not to merely quote them, but, each time, to turn them inside out as one would do with a glove, and reinterpret them in order to find new forms. For this exhibition, Zurstrassen used paper, painting, collage, “decollage” and “recollage”, photography, and digital tools to create solos, leitmotivs, and chorus like a musician, and make painting, the place he inhabits, “resound”.


The strangeness, beauty, and mystery of his work lies in the fact that each painting is the place of a unique happening, and all together archeology and architecture. 


When discussing in front of his paintings with friends, you can mention Matisse, cubism, Kurt Schwitters, and Roy Lichtenstein without being anachronistic, or, closer to us, contemporary abstract artists from the 70s like Jonathan Lasker, Helmut Federle and Marc Devade. You could also bring up some unforgettable memories of architectural walks through the creations of Le Corbusier, Sert, and Van de Velde, but Zurstrassen’s approach and the spirit of his work is not limited to those dialogues. The artist goes on these paths to appropriate and reinterpret them, to “undo” them eventually… to forget them and write his own score, to adopt his own mental attitude, which is to prepare for the emergence of a surprise. Zurstrassen clearly stated: “I need to disrupt the system that I have myself built. I need this cycle: affirmation, repetition, and rupture. Calling into question the systems I have put in place makes me grow, fuels me, and pushes me forward.” Here, I see the vitalist principle at play in his work, which flirts with neurobiology and neurogenetics, turning the experience of surprise into one of the most essential processes of our neuronal activity, to ward off cerebral anemia. I sense it is the source of the joy that radiates from his work and prevents him from repeating himself. 


As a perfect example, this exhibition gathers his latest creations, a unique series of small format works for which Zurstrassen put his sophisticated “decollage” technique aside to take on a new adventure he calls “recollage”, which results from the combination of “collage” and “decollage”. It gave way to these new works, which wild freedom and rhythm equals that of a solo by Archie Shepp or an impro by Joelle Leandre, two artists who inspire him.


More surprising still are the increasingly frequent appearances of barely distinguishable forms, maybe images, in his recent paintings. Are they accumulations of objects or books, or densely populated cities? 


A title is suggested, but do they really have a name? They are, first and foremost, forms. They shape the painting, mixed with the colors that generate and irrigate them. Like before, these forms can be previous brushstrokes or flower blossoms. They contribute to the intense experience that Yves Zurstrassen tries to share with us through the triumph of painting. 



Paris 2022

OLIVIER KAEPPELIN

 




Artist : Yves Zurstrassen


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