Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Stéphanie Baechler.
Lives in Amsterdam and Switzerland
How do you describe your own art practice?
My professional artistic practice began in Textiles and Fashion. The moment I left fashion I developed an intimate relationship with the material clay and textile that I am using in my sculptures and installations. Drawing in space with clay lines, I constructed three-dimensional structures that question and define our interaction with space. I am moving between what I term Hardware (ceramic) and Software (textile). I am drawn to working with ceramics due to the medium’s highly tangible, sensual and tactile qualities. The paradox is its combination of permanence and fragility. I investigate formal and structural vocabulary of fashion, its production processes and its complex relationship to the body, the self and society. Since few years I am engaged with collaborative projects and artistic communities with mentally and physically disabled people. My intention is to address the importance of tactility for human development and to produce knowledge by making together.
Which question or theme is central in your work?
I am interested in tactility in relation to technology: how does today’s technology affect our everyday lives? My goal is to keep record of a material world in a state of flux, decay and obsolescence. The tactile dimension and the interaction between body, movement and space are at the heart of my research, and confront people with the otherwise intangible and mostly invisible digital world of data. My sculptural ambition is connected to the need to feel a physical connection to the world. Often my latest project leads to the next one.
What was your first experience with art?
Very early (14 ) I started an etching course in the valley of my town Fribourg (CH). The entire process and all the steps needed to get to the final result always captivated me. I think that’s when I realized I am fascinated by the printing press (since then the press in general – used in ceramic or textiles). What struck me is the details of the precise line I could obtain and the embossing properties.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
I love visiting particular museums and archives. I take a lot of pictures in order to keep record and create my own archive of places I visited. Travelling is very important to me, to see the world and different cultures and architecture. I am inspired by furniture, especially chairs and textiles. I love documenting my working process, these images also keep feeding my next ideas. I am about to release a book cold: Dear Clay, that gathers a selection of spreads extracted from my sketchbooks displayed in chronological order (2013 – 2019), as well as 35mm photographs documenting my working process. Providing an intimate insight into my artistic practice, it reveals what facilitates my work from its conception to its making, transportation, and installation. Rather than presenting it as a final staged object, I see the work as something unpolished, unfinished, in flux.
What do you need in order to create your work?
Clay, oven, textiles and space. An idea, an emotion and envy.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
Valentine Schlegel, Rosemary Mayer, Suellen Rocca, Arthur Jaffa
‘Dear Clay,’ gathers a selection of spreads extracted from Stéphanie Baechler’s meticulous sketchbooks displayed in chronological order (2013 – 2019), as well as 35mm photographs documenting her working process. Providing an intimate insight into her artistic practice, it reveals what facilitates the work from its conception to its making, transportation, and installation. Rather than presenting it as a final staged object, we see the work as something unpolished, unfinished, in flux.
Book available here