Istituto Svizzero is pleased to present “Boards”, the first solo presentation by Urban Zellweger in Italy.
The young Swiss presents for this occasion a new series of works. In the spaces of Milan, he re-examines his current research, including, among other works, recent small paintings on wood.
The title of the exhibition evokes a certain sense of humour when asking the question, can an image be defined by its support? The iconographies in the new series come from different corners. They are taken out of children books like the “Pixi-Books”, copied realistically from documentaries about reptiles or are self-imagined figures that merge into each other.
A Komodo dragon furling a red rug, pausing, glancing over his shoulder, observing something that is not depicted. Two cats smoking cigarettes hidden behind a big wall; ‘vaping’ so much that the smoke turns into fog and merges with the white background. A figure playing the piano as if it were alone with its instrument, connected through mutual colours: safe and sound.
Unlike surrealists who maintained a constrained relationship with painting, Urban Zellweger does not feel any animosity toward his medium. The figures follow one another, his sets unfold, the perspectives are built but the painting has its own space. If his formats are more customary to the ones produced in a workshop, his technique is dry, thus revealing the drawings. Oil painting allows him to produce “sticky” white backgrounds from which figures detach, in the same way as dreams origin from a blurry mist. The rigid wooden surfaces allow him to cut out more quickly and clearly an iconography. Colours regain their medieval two-dimensionality.
Two sculptures produced by Bernhard Hegglin question the idea of the support being an issue for the image. The drawings, hanging on branches of what appears to be a metal tree, are a mix of originals and ripped out pages of his recently published drawing book Grass Glue (2018) as well as his precedent one Snow (2016).