”I want to bring art back into everyday life – and this is why I create art out of everyday life” says BEAT ZODERER (*1955 Zurich) 2009 in an interview with the Aargauer newspaper and hereby defines the cornerstones of his artistic work. Predominantly industrial materials are being transformed into objects, installations, collages and paintings in a virtuoso manner. The exploration of space is paramount for the artist. His non-representational works subtly question graphic, painterly and sculptural qualities and challenge systems of order in an ironic and playful way. BEAT ZODERER’s references to Constructivism and Minimal Art are as apparent as they are undermined. This becomes palpable when looking at the two works Pentagramme (Pentagrams) in this exhibition: the seemingly perfect three-dimensional, minimalistic, five-sided figures intrigue the viewer with their organic quality given by the painted plywood.
BEAT ZODERER’s new wall objects Faltung No. 1 – 3 (Folding No. 1 – 3), which were created recently in his studio in Wettingen near Zurich toy with our perception, as his work often does. Lacquered in gleaming carmine red, lemon yellow and turquoise-green, kinked wooden offsets seem to be waiting to be fanned out into an even plane. Memories of haptic childhood games are awakened, from paper planes to Origami. The captivating element of the folding implies the possibility of the unfolding: it initiates a scenario of ‘what-ifs’. The six-part series of the framed Faltungen (Foldings) as well as Mashrabi No. 1 – 2 and Kintsugi focus on this exact theme. Mashrabi is an element in traditional Islamic architecture where carved wooden latticeworks decorate windows and balconies of mosques, residential buildings and palaces. BEAT ZODERER paints lattices white and by leaving them unfinished plunges them into chaos which our brains try to rearrange into an order. Kintsugi is Japanese and translates into golden joinery. It describes the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery: shards of a shattered object are glued back together using a gold or silver lacquer. A vessel is formed that is similar to its origin but is also a newly developed body. This technique does not try to disguise flaws, but up-values the object by using precious metal. There is no better way to describe BEAT ZODERER’s artistic sense: for his works he selects materials that seem alien to art and turns them into something beautiful and valuable. He does not hide their origins, but much rather celebrates them.
Another novelty is that ”Zoderer paints” as the artist himself aptly remarked during a studio visit prior to the exhibition. The artist has hitherto worked with all kinds of cut out paper, woollen threads, tape and parcel string to create collages and foldings, but has now resorted to the use of the brush for the very first time. Painting with classic acrylic colours on MDF boards instead of canvases (ZIG- ZAG No. 1 – 3). Horizontales Hin und Her (Horizontal To and Fro) is reminiscent of the past decade: three upright image bars made of collaged, multi-coloured photo paper snippets, inspired by Gothic church windows, stand for the democratisation of the material, which is transformed by the hands of the alchemist BEAT ZODERER into works of art of the highest degree.
Salzburg, January 2019