Artist: Urban Zellweger, Ella Mathys
Venue: Karma International, Zürich
Date: April 29 – May 13, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Urban Zellweger, Ella Mathys at Karma International, installation, 00:51
Images courtesy of Karma International, Zürich
For the third storefront show, we’re joined by Urban Zellweger! We met at his studio’s garden in Zurich to discuss the curtains he installed and collaborated on with Ella Mathys for our weekly series.
Karma InternationaI: Your paintings and drawings often depict fictional situations that seem to derive from a fantastical world. The curtain appears in several of your paintings as a motif. Can it be read as a signifier for theatricality?
Urban Zellweger: My works often address the juxtaposition of the inside and the outside. The curtain is a symbol that divides the two spheres. It can be seen as a character that keeps on appearing throughout my oeuvre. Sometimes it’s open and sometimes it’s closed. Other times there’s just a crack open so that one can peak in.
It’s a peculiar feeling to paint a closed curtain onto primed canvas. It’s also a very simple way to depict the idea of a new space. By letting the viewer peak through the curtain I open a new space which presents itself as a bizarre vertical landscape.
KI: For your show in our storefront gallery you produced a collaged curtain consisting of found textiles, drawings, and paintings. The curtain blocks the storefront view into the gallery. Can we assume the purpose of this curtain was again to emphasize the inside versus the outside – an idea that is of utmost topicality in the storefront concept which happens because people are currently prohibited from entering galleries right now?
Ella Mathys: Definitely the concept of the storefront gallery inspired the idea of the curtain for this show. In everyday life the curtain is an element we use to protect us from the outside – be it to shield us from being seen or to dim the sunlight that enters. It divides the in- and outside. Similarly, the curtain is used in theaters: it is the threshold between the public and the spectacle or it can be something in-between by becoming part of the stage design.
UZ: The curtains we’re showing are installed directly behind the gallery window. Its glass is quite reflective and has a slight tin, which makes it hard to see what’s happening inside during the day. Therefore our curtains become visible mostly when the sun sets and the gallery space is lit from inside. The function of the curtain is not to block the view, it’s more of a screen or an illuminated banner that actually attracts the gaze. It directs it toward the actual exhibition space that, due to the current situation, remains empty. It’s like a glimpse into the future that says: there will be shows happening here, again – someday.
KI: How are the curtains produced? What is the exact technique and how did you accomplish it?
EM: The curtains are collages from fabrics we found in an old house in the Swiss mountains, in the village Mulegns. The textiles we used are from the 70s and we sewed them together with other fabrics, some of which we bleached beforehand. This process opened up new fields within the fabric which can be seen as rooms. Some parts of the collage are also made of canvas that has been painted or drawn on. The composition can be read like a comic strip in which the different scenes are divided by a grid-like structure.
Sending our best wishes!
Karolina, Marina, and the Karma team