KubaParis in conversation with Charlotte Herzig

Swiss Art Awards 2016

KubaParis/Amelie gr. Darrelmann
Painting and lithography are your primary media. It is not unusual for you that you present your canvases in room filling installations. Time and time again, you are creating a stage for your work and turn the exhibition rooms in something completely new. Can we expect something likely for your presentation at the Swiss Art Awards 2016?

Charlotte Herzig
Mmmh, actually I would say that painting is my main activity. I guess when I ran into Lithography, I enjoyed how it teaches you by restraint and by how complicated the process of printing is, about composition, thinking reverse and painting in Black and White, while still thinking in color. Fairly complicated relationship to the medium. Painting on a stone. To paint on the same stone than possibly Picasso did, and unknown other artists, excited me as well. haha.
Interventions surrounding my paintings, such as murals, floors or little furniture are often elaborated as pretexts to get a better understanding and rethink the locations I work within. This obsession of repeating gestures as simple as drawing lines on the wall with the help of a stick of wood and a level also prevents me to dream about other spectacular possibilities. At the end it’s more a straight forward invitation to have a look at the walls too. And it is invisible from far …
For my presentation at the Swiss Art Awards I will show a series of 4 paintings on canvas, again with lines. A sort of walk. An attempt to show Painterly Feelings at Work. The whole context of the award is already well staged. It’s a Big Chance and a Big Game.

il frutto dentro di me, duo show with Andreas Hochuli, (exhibition view), Kunsthaus Langenthal, 2015; miniature on landscape, lithography and watercolor on paper, 4 ed. of 15 prints on paper with original watercolor chine collé, 35x50cm, 2012-.. (on going project); Wall hugging, acrylic mural painting, variable dimensions, 2015, © Gunnar Meier
it WAs sucH A set up, collaborative room, (exhibition view), Kunsthaus Langenthal, 2015, prima berg auf, sculpture by christopher füllemann, mixed media and plant/ lovosong raptor, animated drawing and sound piece by charlotte Herzig and maud constantin blakamfloor, acrylic on wood panels, dimensions variable, 2015, lapomme, acrylic on canvas, 120x160cm, 2013, © Gunnar Meier

KubaParis/Amelie gr. Darrelmann
We have visited the exhibition enthousiasme, improvisation (your heart skips a beat) at Frankfurt am Main, Berlin. Besides canvases with floral elements, geometrical figures and abstract surfaces you have exhibit several purple, wooden cubes. The walls are graced with gossamer vertical pencil lines. Again, you have taken the whole room. Everything fits together. The purple of the cubes can be found in the canvases again. The joints between the tiles, which are belonging to the room, fit the pencil lines. We know these elaborate and thoughtful arrangements of you. The design vocabulary or rather the coloring and the arrangement of the motifs on the canvases are more clear and detailed. Some elements stand alone. You forgo to a large extent overlaps. Who and what influenced you in your work and what signifies this reduction?

Charlotte Herzig
There is a constellation of works I am influenced by but when I started thinking about painting, I thought it’s already a big chunk of things to deal with within the frame. So together with friends in a collective, we decided to focus on how to show the autonomous paintings we made, in space. We thought it was radical to create environments that include the spectator in a slight straight forward way. We ended up building and painting a lot of floors, benches, walls, stages and different makeshift objects. We were using color fearlessly. This energy with them was very formative and from time to time leaks into my projects today. The landscape I grew up in, the lake and the mountains, looking at what’s at hand, everyday objects, my teapot, the way to the studio, and the sky is also a passion- hobby.

enthousiasme, improvisation (your heart skips a beat), L and cubes, 2016, lacquer on wood, dimensions variable, Frankfurt am Main, Wildenbruchstraße 15, 12045 Berlin, © Andrea Rossetti
enthousiasme, improvisation (your heart skips a beat), Untitled, (Flashback I Have a Flashback), 2016, acrylic on canvas, 35 × 50 cm, Frankfurt am Main, Wildenbruchstraße 15, 12045 Berlin, © Andrea Rossetti
enthousiasme, improvisation (your heart skips a beat), Working in the Moonlight, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 105 × 150 cm, © Andrea Rossetti

KubaParis/Amelie gr. Darrelmann
I have rediscovered the light turquoise and purple in the exhibition Discreet Justice Catherine Biocca in the PSM gallery, Berlin. There, in March of this year, you have presented a mural painting and canvases. How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition? Are you creating sketches in the atelier?

Charlotte Herzig
It depends, but at PSM I literally was offered a wall, so I took it personally and decided to compose a loose compilation of older murals and combine them together with paintings travelling over them. No real sketches, the mural works are like small choreographies, intuitive patterns, suite of movements that repeat in a visual dance, initially escaped from paintings I did. And also the help of Photoshop for a general view. But then it all happens live-on site. Pretty fast but still a few days. For the show at Frankfurt am Main I spent the winter thinking of their old ice cream shop turned into an art space with their openings on Sundays. I started to draw the space in a comic-like fashion, then searched for my intention in words and came up with the title enthousiasme, improvisation (you heart skips a beat). I cherish the purple/violet and pink tons.

Installation view: Discreet Justice, March 2016, PSM, Berlin, © PSM and Hans-Georg Gaul
Charlotte Herzig, les révélations fantastiques, 2016, wall painting, dimensions variable, March 2016, PSM, Berlin, © PSM and Hans-Georg Gaul

KubaParis/Amelie gr. Darrelmann
An exhibition with two different positions is interesting but always a risk. The works of you and Catherine Biocca fit very well together. Which challenges have arisen in the cooperation?

Charlotte Herzig
Yes it is funny because, some of the pieces did almost fit too well together. I like the idea of a work parasitizing another one. When similarities, differences, slight disconnections and more obvious connections melt in a layered conversation. We are not looking for truth, only small revelations. With Catherine I think we share a common love in tearing something unclear apart, but the rendering is/feels harmonious I believe. That’s my take. Haha. And it was interesting to witness that something was at work in the space between our two works. Aaron Bogart, the curator put us together and had the desire to have us talk even if the outcome wasn’t sure. We did a good job I think. I like collaborating a lot. It comes with trouble and harmony same with life. And sometimes it feels like a new smooth friendship. And you get to discover other artists, tie new relationships.

KubaParis/Amelie gr. Darrelmann
A completely different type of cooperation resulted out of the collaboration with the product designer Sibylle Stoeckli. She has created a site-specific installation for Artsy.net’s Design Curio booth, curated by Alexandra Gilbert at Design Miami / Basel in 2015 for the tenth edition of #ArtsyTakeover, a project series in which Artsy invites contemporary artists and designers to reimagine art fair spaces. Sibylle Stoeckli invited you to collaborate with the visual language. Can you tell us something about this project? What have you done?

Charlotte Herzig
Sybille and I collaborated in the past in Switzerland. We met again in Los Angeles three years ago. I was then a stop on her road. She was doing a world research trip about design. We did drift there for a few days. Later in Berlin where I live now, she fed me raw food and those see weeds grew on me. I elaborated a vocabulary of vegetal typologies, from earth to water landscape.The plan was to design the second more abstract edition of a newspaper she created, AUA LICHT FORM FUTURI, account of a new perspective on Global Design, with discussions between designers and craftsmen, and Sybille’s thoughts about Design in general. Our newspaper was turned into a wall paper and this installation was a platform-pretext to meet and talk about her researches on Global Design and other things.

ARTSY/ Sibylle Stœkli + Charlotte Herzig at Design Miami/ Basel 2015
ARTSY/ Sibylle Stœkli + Charlotte Herzig at Design Miami/ Basel 2015

KubaParis/Amelie gr. Darrelmann
What are your upcoming projects?

Charlotte Herzig
Together with Guy Meldem a swiss artist colleague, we are doing the second chapter of a show that was called Boss says that we have to blow up the bridge at midnight, we should probably call it Boss says that we have to blow up the bridge at midnight # 2. We will be building a tower that will host both our respective painting works and manufacture an edition of the tower-sculpture miniature. It will take place at Davel 14, in Cully, a pittoresque village by the lake of Geneva.
With Christopher Füllemann and Elise Lammer, we are showing les émotions spatiales 3 paintings on feet, 7 ceramic vases and a sound piece that will speak to you in a group show at Cacy, Yverdon, die Diele Zürich and zwanzigquadratmeter in Berlin. A travelling collaboration.
So this is it!

Thank you for your time and we wish you success and lots of fun in Basel!