BERLIN.- Galerie Guido W. Baudach
is presenting its fourth solo exhibition of works by Swiss born and New York based artist Yves Scherer. Under the title Family Time, Scherer shows, among other things, new works from the three most important work groups of recent years: a hyperrealistic sculpture, lenticular prints and combined paintings. In continuation of the crosswork narrative that has always characterized his practice, a targeted linking of celebrity culture, fan fiction and his own, sometimes very personal life experiences takes place here.
For those who associate Yves Scherer primarily with the artistic appropriation of acting stars such as Emma Watson, Lindsay Lohan and Vincent Cassel, the sculpture placed centrally in the exhibition may at first seem unfamiliar. It stands there, modelled larger than life, the figure of a little boy who, bent over in front, is completely absorbed in picking flowers and doesnt even seem to notice who or what has jumped onto his back and is looking jauntily around. In an outfit that combines old-fashioned braces with modern jogging trousers, the boy wears a pensive smile on his face. Designed on the computer and cast in aluminium, he could have been based on a figure from a Hodler painting. His body, clothes and the lowers he holds are painted in decidedly delicate shades. In this, as in the choice of subject in general, one might assume a reference to traditional enamel or porcelain figures. But in contrast to these usually roundshaped objects of decorative arts and crafts, which have very shiny surfaces, everything here is matt and sharp-edged - almost as if the sculpture was carved out of metal.
On the opposite wall hangs a work from Scherers ongoing series of lenticular prints. It combines in direct juxtaposition a private photograph of the young Kate Moss, taken by her boyfriend at the time, Mario Sorrenti, with an image of a Koala bear sitting alone on a branch and looking shyly into the camera. One is tempted to interpret the bear figure as a kind of stand-in and alter ego of the artist. This would at least fit the concept of one-sided dialogue, which Scherer has used as an artistic strategy in his works over several groups and years. In doing so, he instrumentalises the metaphysical distance that separates the celebrities from their audience as a contrast to the physical proximity of the two parties in the work itself; in the present case Kate Moss and the Koala bear who are facing each other below on one and a half square meters of lenticular lens. In this reading, the work serves as a reflection on the influence of the media on our personal lives and experiences. By mixing private souvenir photos, including selfies and holiday pictures, with paparazzi and press shots of Hollywood stars, Scherer creates a daydream in which a one-sided following becomes a reciprocal relationship. At the same time, one could identify in exactly this hope and interest, the continuously dwindling engagement of some individuals in their immediate personal environment, their own community, increasingly being absorbed by the virtual worlds of social media and the internet.
Things are very different with the latest examples of Scherers ongoing Tatami series, which are deeply rooted in their own material reality and their reference to the artists own biography. Works from this series already formed a focal point in Scherers first exhibition with the gallery in 2014, and now several of such assemblage paintings - focus of a recent publication by Cura.- appear in Family Time. The works, manipulated tatami mats mounted on a wooden composite material and shown in Plexiglas boxes, are material collages that are conceptually based on the use of mats in the West as mattress underlays, thus symbolising the sleeping and co-sleeping place, i.e. the bed. The paintings mostly show concrete traces or even complete objects from Scherers immediate living environment and thus tie in with art historical traditions such as the Italian Arte Povera or the French Support/ Surface movement. Part ready-made, part abstract space, they engage their audience in a reflection on the formal language of painting and sculpture; a discourse initiated above all by Robert Rauschenberg and other US artists of his time. Bed sheets torn into strips and painted with oil pens, wrapped around real tree branches next to plastic cherry blossoms, in combination with the tatami mat behind Plexiglas, create an aesthetic effect that, apart from the above-mentioned references, is certainly also reminiscent of Van Goghs landscapes inspired by Japanese silk painting, we could think of the energetically animated depiction of a peach tree covered with fruit in early morning sunlight.
This atmosphere of departure and renewal dominates the entire exhibition. At the same time, Family Time functions as a kind of stock-taking, a consolidation that springs from the bringing together of the different series of works that have made up the artists practice to this day. Scherer himself describes the exhibition as a happy place, a Sunday morning in his New York flat where he has gathered old and new friends as well as members of his family to celebrate the young life of his baby daughter Lucy.
Yves Scherer, born 1987 in Solothurn (CH), lives and works in New York. He studied in Lucerne, Berlin and London. His work has been shown in numerous exhibition venues at home and abroad, including Kunsthalle Basel (2018) and the Swiss Institute New York (2015).