EMBODIMENTS | RALPH BÜRGIN | SOFÍA DURRIEU | ROMAN GYSIN
Artist Talk | Friday, May 6, 2022, 6.30pm
The exhibition Embodiments enables a discourse between three positions in contemporary art in Switzerland. In their respective media, Ralph Bürgin (*1980, lives in Basel), Sofía Durrieu (*1980, lives in Basel and Buenos Aires), and Roman Gysin (*1984, lives in Zurich) all deal with concepts of corporeality. The title of this exhibition is inspired by the embodiment theory in cognitive science, wherein according to Maurice Merlau-Ponty, there is no hard separation between bodily conduct and intelligent conduct; rather, there is a unity of behavior that expresses the intentionality and hence the meaning of this conduct. In habits, the body adapts to the intended meaning, thus giving itself a form of embodied consciousness. For Merleau-Ponty, then, strictly speaking, we do not have bodies, rather “we are our body,” which is to say, “we are in the world through our body, and insofar as we perceive the world with our body.”
The artists approach this parallelism of bodily and mental intention in different ways: Roman Gysin’s wall-based objects first appear industrial or mechanical but are given a bodily presence by being “dressed” and “disguised” in shiny satin fabric or adorned with ribbons or jewelry-like objects. In Sofía Durrieu’s “sculptures with instructions for action”, the visitor’s body becomes part of the sculpture, as the artist’s instructions bring their bodies into predetermined poses. Here the body is not seen as a category in contrast to spirit and mind, but as the field of manifestation of these aspects. The titles of the works, such as Relaxable, Repentetris or John Wayne (to be brave), imply that these postures often also result in an intended mood or attitude. The body of Ralph Bürgin’s large nude (grey nude, 2021) stretches across three joined canvases. The body adapts – in a free and agile manner as it navigates this unusual picture plane. Bürgin’s paintings of nudes, heads in profile, and fires, express physicality in a different way. His figures and bodies manifest feelings of adaptability, mental as well as physical agility, and a sense of powerlessness in the face of global political and natural events.
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ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ralph Bürgin (*1980 Basel, lives in Basel, Switzerland) studied at the Academy of Art and Design in Zurich and Basel, where he graduated in 2018 with a Master in Fine Arts. The painter and sculptor lives in Basel and works in his studio in France (Alsace). Recent solo exhibitions include Watching a Peaceful River at Galerie Barbara Seiler, Zurich, Switzerland, 2020, La place at Centre culturel suisse, Paris, France, 2019; and Pieces and Shadows at Kunstverein Diessenhofen, Switzerland, 2017.
Ralph Bürgin’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including 2021 at Wilde Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland; 2018 at Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz, Switzerland; 2016 at Ping/Pong, Basel/Miami, Los Angeles, USA; 2014 in “Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt, Werkbeiträge 2013” at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland.
In 2019, a publication was dedicated to the artist as part of the Cahier d’Artistes series published by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, with a text by Felicity Lunn. The artist has also realized several projects in public spaces, including Gasträume 2020 in Zurich, curated by Christoph Doswald, and a sculpture project initiated by Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt in collaboration with the Department of Construction and Transport, which was presented at the Heuwaage in Basel in 2022.
Selected works from our exhibition will be on view as part of the exhibition UN(CERTAIN) GROUND | Current Painting in Switzerland, at Kunsthaus Pasquart in Biel in the summer of 2022.
Sofía Durrieu (*1980 Buenos Aires, Argentina, lives in Basel, Switzerland and Buenos Aires, Argentina) spent her early years in France and where she trained to become a ballet dancer. She studied Fine Arts at Prilidiano Pueyrredón, Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, and Graphic Design at the Faculty of Design of Buenos Aires. Later she became interested in ceramics, sculpture, yoga and performance. In 2018 she moved to Basel, Switzerland to join the Master in Fine Arts program at FHNW HGK Institut Kunst, directed by Chus Martínez, graduating in 2020.
Recent solo exhibitions of the artist were Magenmund at Palazzina, Basel, Amenities at Reaktor, Zurich, Control Remoto at Pasto Galería, Buenos Aires, and Puppet-me (or example of a five-legged walking stick) at Ruth Benzacar Gallery, Buenos Aires.
Her work has been included in several group exhibitions in Switzerland, France and Argentina, among them at Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, CEAAC Strasbourg, Federico Klemm Foundation, Buenos Aires. In February 2022 her work was part of the Performance Biennial in Parque Memorial in Buenos Aires. Sofía Durrieu’s work is featured in several important private collections in the Americas. Recently she has been awarded an Atelier Mondial residency in Tokas, Tokyo, and has been nominated for the Werkbeitrag Kunstkredit Basel Stadt 2021, as well as for the 2022 Swiss Art Awards. In Argentina, Sofía Durrieu is represented by Ruth Benzacar Gallery in Buenos Aires.
Roman Gysin (*1984 in Möhlin, Switzerland, lives in Zurich) completed his studies at the Zurich University of the Arts and at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg, following an apprenticeship as a carpenter. Solo exhibitions of the artist included Really Rustic at Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne, Germany, 2021; Deep Decor at Toxi Space, Zurich 2021; and Authentica at Feldeggstrasse 77, Zurich 2017.
His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions in Switzerland and internationally, most recently at Le Commun in Geneva, 2021; Last Tango in Zurich, 2020; Topic in Geneva; and Villa Schöningen in Potsdam, Germany. Furthermore, the artist’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Torrance Art Museum in Los Angeles, USA 2018, Kunsthaus Hamburg as part of the Hiscox Art Prize 2015, Galerie Samy Abraham in Paris 2012, and COCO in Vienna 2010 and 2011.
In 2021, a publication was dedicated to the artist as part of the Cahier d’Artistes series published by the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia, with a text by Sylvain Menétrey. In 2017, Roman Gysin was awarded Studio Award (Paris) by the City of Zurich and nominated for the Swiss Art Awards. In addition to numerous private collections, works by the artist are in the collection of the Canton of Zurich, among others. In Germany, Roman Gysin is represented by Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne.