Silvia Bächli: Weiter wird

7 Jun 2015 – 18 Oct 2015

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“My work resembles a monolog spoken aloud” says Swiss artist Silvia Bächli who also evokes the similitude between her practice of drawing and poetry, both revealing the advent of preconscious images. My drawings “sometimes surface like sleepwalkers” she adds. But where do they stem from?


First, particular attention must be given to details coupled with receptiveness of the world. During her nearly daily meanderings in natural or urban landscapes, she seizes upon “a climate”, fills herself with sensations, perceives of moving forms to the rhythm of her footsteps. All this, she then transfers onto paper, necessarily fragmented, like sparse and nebulous memories struck with incompleteness, while doted with a new energy generated by a gesture involving the whole of her body.

No realism of course, rather a “transcription”, ever-more sensitive to her memory and sensations in an abstract and sometimes figurative register. Lines unfold. Traces sketch out diluted forms, in pastel colors or gray tones. They seem unfinished, seek to extend themselves beyond the paper, outside the frame, somewhere else. Their manner of occupying space leaves much to whiteness, emptiness, reminding us of calligraphy or Asian painting. 

A similar method presides during the hanging of the drawings for their public presentation. While more than a hanging, here it’s more precise to speak of an installation or composition both in the fine arts and musical sense. For Silvia Bächli’s hangings lay things out, aiming at harmony through opposition and a complementary nature, balanced between the replete and the empty. Large and small formats, figurative and abstract drawings, drawings in black and white or color alternate to create a rhythm the eye embraces in one piece, as if it were one same and unique work before breaking down into the details behind each individual drawing. And each interstice in this composition is both silence and emptiness. 

At the Frac Franche-Comté, the drawings are accompanied by photos the artist produced with her partner, artist Eric Hattan, during travels to Iceland between March and June 2008. The latter form a long, narrow table winding through the room’s volume. The whole composes an installation evoking, by way of its linearity and sinuosity, the road named Hafnargata near where the artists lived for several months. If this device directly echoes the notion of winding movement and strolling along inside Silvia Bächli’s drawings, it also invites the visitor to move along a spatial-temporal line, since the photos are presented in the chronological order of their capturing. Thus, Hafnargata equally evokes a film which fully unfolds without any image ever erasing itself in order for the following to come to light. Here again, concerning the presentation of Silvia Bächli’s drawings, white space separating each photo is intended as emptiness the onlooker has all his/her leisure to fill through imagination.

Hafnargata is by no means illustrative or documentary. The photos composing it are likewise not the direct source of the drawings presented. It is a matter of a parallel, complementary work, nonetheless offering hints about the artist’s eye, what captivates her during her walks, what moves her forward…take for example, the apparition of color in her drawings after her trip to Iceland and spawned by her encounters with houses, rooftops and objects,…so many colored counterpoints upon the boundless and silent icy landscape. 

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Exhibiting artists

Silvia Bächli


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