In this short interview Swiss artist Patric Sandri talks about his work and the art scene in Zurich

Can you share a few words about the city you are living in and how is the local art scene?


I’m living in Zurich, Switzerland. The art scene here is quite big and very connected at the same time. There is one main building Löwenbräukunst with lots of bigger famous galleries all in one complex, and there are lots of Offspaces as well. There are exhibitions openings regularly also with young galleries and younger artists.

The works shown in Zurich are very conceptual I would say.

Untitled (Compositions with Canvas and Colours), 2015, 195 x 125 cm (1, 2, 3), 195 x 130 cm (4)

How would you describe your work and what are your main influences?

I see myself first of all as a painter, who seeks to break with tradition through examination of objecthood. Here especially the materials that I use for my works play a major role.

In painting I am interested in the canvas on the stretcher frame, the object itself. Or the canvas as an architectural element. When I start making a work, the first step is the analysis of this object, which has a sculptural character, displays various norms or qualities, depths and interfaces. Hence, I give these often neglected components of painting a meaning.

I am trying to find corresponding personal systems and visualisations. When it comes to industrially manufactured canvasses, the rectangular frame is usually a given condition, an overlooked fact. I am approaching the canvas, that – just like the model of the primary colours – provides a sheer infinite scope of possibilities due to its simplicity. I am mainly intrigued by the idea of reversing the traditional panel painting, which depicts something three-dimensional as two-dimensional. Through my painterly interventions at the edges of the canvas, respectively its depths and irradiation onto the wall, the three-dimensional object of the canvas is projected two-dimensionally to its base,  the illusion of three-dimensionality does not happen on the surface of the painting but outside its particular body.

I explore the medium of painting and examine perceptions and the aspects of seeing. Mistakes and contradictions in the understanding of the perception, for example through the play with illusion, deception and visual irritation are important aspects that influence the ideas and composition of the works. I question the role and function of the picture and develop non-figurative painterly objects, the meaning of which is revealed through the act of observation. During the work process I dissect, explore, and connect the constituents of painting into a new system. Light completes the paintings or often even forms an essential part. This is thematised solely by way of painterly interventions. The colours of the painted edges on the backs of the painting and on the stretcher frames shimmer, reflect and radiate through transparent fabrics onto their background. Thus the front and the back of the painting as well as the stretcher frame become part of the composition of the content of the picture and also the wall turns into an essential element.

I reveal basically everything to the recipient, if he or she only takes the time to look closely. I take the elements of the painted picture, which have been predefined for centuries and turn them into the subject of my work. And because my works feature transparency, one can also perceive the space in front and behind the picture, the conditions of painting are disclosed. This is an irritation evoked by colour and form. And still one simultaneously perceives it as a construct. I like to say that I let the materials and light do the paintings instead of touching the surface. Thats maybe what we observe as illusion, but I prefer to say ‚visual irritation‘.

Untitled (Composition with 3 Canvas and 2 Colours

What made you want to become an artist?

As a child I didn’t do a lot of drawings and handicraft work etc. So I am not one of these classical ‚born as an artist‘-artist. When I went to academic high school I discovered that I’m really interested in art, especially painting. My teacher was a good painter. After the school final examination I think it was more or less clear that I wanted to study art. I couldn’t imagine to do something else.

Are there any artists in particular that you identify with today?

I think my work is very connected to the analysis of painting. I identify myself or I admire more older artists like Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Francois Morellet, Imi Knoebel, Alan Charlton, Dewain Valentine and not to forget Daniel Buren.

I see myself first of all as a painter, who seeks to break with tradition through examination of objecthood.

How do you feel about using online platforms to expose your works?

First of all I think that we are very used to seeing artworks online or doing research online. But I think that the presence of an artwork is not possible to depict at all neither on a screen nor with photography. We need to see the works live and direct in the space to get the presence.

That’s very important concerning my work. I would prefer to say that my ‘paintings’ need an observer who ‚performs with them’ or in other words ‚the viewer who looks at and discovers the paintings from different point of views’. The paintings and the viewer both need each other. It is very difficult to do reproductions of these paintings. The presence is not possible to depict in one photograph or one point of view. But that is part of the concept and I want to point to ‘The ways of seeing‘ by John Berger, (published in 1972) where he delineates the impact of photography and the reproduction on artworks. I like the idea as a contrast to the new media, that we have to go to see the artworks in the exhibition space to notice the real presence of the artwork.

Untitled, 2012, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40 cm each

What are you working on currently or your plans for the near future?

I’m working for an upcoming solo show at Annarumma Gallery in Naples, Italy. The opening is on 20th September 2016. I will show 10 to 15 works, all of them wall-based. I will create dialogues between very playful and very minimal works. During the time between exhibitions I experiment in my studio and try out some ideas which originate during the work in progress. There are also some exhibitions planned in late 2016 and in 2017.






Skip to toolbar