Christian Gonzenbach was born in 1975, and lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland. He studied at the HEAD Haute Ecole d’Art & de Design, Geneva and received his MFA from the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. In 2011 Gonzenbach’s work was shown at the art center of Roubaix, France, in his one-person exhibition “Zoonomia”, and at Museo Cantonale d’Arte de Lugano.

Christian Gonzenbach explores the fine border between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the normal and the bizarre. The young Swiss artist questions the world as we know it, seeking for the very point where meaning is lost and switches into absurdity, strangeness or poetry.

His new series of ceramic sculptures draws from masterpieces of the history of sculpture: the classical bust of the Farnese Hercules or a portrait of Bernini become a mass whose outlines seem to escape any logic, yet born of a basic change of perspective : the inversion of the relief whose hollows become volumes and vice versa. It is by playing with the empty and the full that a new plastic appears, a mutant being and its smooth surface hit by light, as would a bubble of mercury, thus providing an uncanny vision.

His most recent works on paper get back to the shapes of the symmetrical visions of the Rorschach tests. They become in Christian Gonzenbac’s hands intriguing cartographies of the mind, drawn by the trail of India ink left by the peregrinations of maggots on the sheet of paper, referring to an automatic writing, here produced from a source without any other conscious awareness than the instinct of the larva wandering on the white surface.

Drawing on science, arts or the banality of everyday life, Christian Gonzenbach works in constant experimentation and without limits to cross over disciplines. Diverting the object of its function or its primary state, the artist transforms it by opening a new dimension that disturbs the viewer’s perception of reality.

With a sense of humour ranging from childlike innocence to cruel darkness, Christian Gonzenbach transmutes the envelope of things, playing on the material, scale, sense – both physically and semantically. He creates a new link between the appearance and the essence of the object, reinventing what it is, what it evokes, what it really is, and in between, all that it could have been.

Kristin Stein

Andrea Carson’s Review Oct. 2011: View on Canadian Art

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