Rarely you end up working with an artist that you meet at the booth of an art fair where Sophie was almost blushing when she complimented me on the integrity and beauty of our booths over the past years. Of the many unsolicited catalogues sent to the gallery I had kept hers to review as I was somehow intrigued. Then a close gallery client, after previewing another fair, brought me to the booth of Sophie’s Swiss gallery, and it finally all made sense. Sophie’s fascination with mapping and maps reaches a depth unsurpassed in that medium. The texture and sensuality of her surfaces mirror her quasi philosophical approach and I suppose her character as well; multifaceted and gentle yet determined.
Sophie Bouvier Ausländer’s point of departure for her artistic practice is nothing less than our planet, which can be considered as the sculpture par excellence. Although her works are manifold and versatile, ranging from watercolours and paintings on waxed maps to sculpture and installation; geography, and more specifically cartography have been reoccurring components in the themes addressed by the artist. Furthermore, her works examine more specific enquiries into space such as fractal structures and partial dimensions and their potential perception of multiple versions or possible worlds.
Bouvier Ausländer is interested in the tangibility of things. Her creations are arcane, often rudimentary and transitory. The Swiss artist eliminates, disrupts or perforates the structure of the objects she works with. One needs to closely inspect them to understand what is hidden beneath the surface, under painted road maps, shredded world map collages or subscribed plasticine sculptures. Her small and large-scale waxed maps from the Avalanche series for instance are covered with paint and then scratched and scribbled into with abstract shapes or grids, and then sometimes recovered with paint drippings. Exposing hints of the underlying countries, oceans, cities and borders, one tries to decipher and rediscover familiar environments, names and signs. This way Bouvier-Ausländer keeps our curiosity and familiarity alive while she manages to produce almost entirely new objects that recharge the existing ones.
Within a larger framework, her sculptures and works on paper, though somehow organic, reflect a rather abstract aesthetic and connect it to a profound interest in environmental and socio-political questions. Ultimately, Bouvier-Ausländer wonders how sculpture and painting can change the structure and the understanding – or at least the perception of our world.
Sophie Bouvier Ausländer has held numerous solo and group shows in Switzerland, France and the UK. Her works entered important institutional collections such as the Musée d’Art de Pully and the Musée des Beaux-Arts du Locle. The artist has recently received the prestigious Grand Prix awarded by the Fondation Vaudoise pour la Culture.
Exhibitions at the gallery:
Words, Works, Worlds, 2020 (solo show)
Should I Stay or Should I Go, 2019 (Group Show with James S. Brooks, David Connearn, Eric Cruickshank, Henrik Eiben, Frank Gerritz, Michael Iwanowski, Michael Landy, Stefana McClure, Mike Meiré, Danica Phelps, Varvara Shavrova, Susan Stockwell, Johannes Von Stumm)
Avalanche, 2017 (solo show)