For her fourth solo exhibition at Sfeir-Semler, Streuli presents a self-reflective and autobiographical approach to her artistic practice. The artist questions the medium of painting within the realm of contemporary art, and her own personal position as a painter in 2014. Using the space of the gallery as her canvas, Streuli transforms the whole premise into an artwork. Placing the process of painting at the center of her work, she attempts to examine her own practice, and to scrutinise the relationship between colour, form, and space.
The exhibition collar size / Kragenweite 36“ evolves from a close, intense examination of the gallery space. Mirroring the wooden floor of the gallery onto wallpaper around the space, the artist creates a concentrated spatial experience for the viewers, situating them within a painting installation, and inviting them into the canvas to examine the details of the painting, as well as the painter.
Once within the warm welcoming space, the viewer is taken into the illusion of the painting. What appears to be an enticing fervor of colour, shape, and form, is in fact a deeply critical study of the practice. Streuli uses the act of painting as an analytical tool, dissecting and inspecting the medium, rather than being spontaneous, expressive, or emotional. Instead of painting being the means, the painting and its components become the subject. A brushstroke is highlighted and emphasized, thus removing its spontaneity, movement, and fleetingness, in order to question its role in contemporary art. Painting becomes the primary focus and substance of her artworks through the use of composition and canvas space with colourful brushstrokes and patterns, and through the exploration of the space between illusion and figuration.
Uniting colour with geometric and floral patterns, Streuli’s paintings balance the notions of expressionism and objectivity, passion and pragmatism, while reflecting on her life as a painter. The four large-scale dyptichs on display are visually link together with forms of family trees, highlighting the biographical element in her work and placing it in the foreground. Entitled „Sampler_Origin (1-4)“, the diptychs bear the dates 1975 and 2014, representing the life of the artist until the present day.
The exhibition therefore develops into a self-portrait of the artist, as it uncovers bits and pieces of Streuli’s personal references. She presents her own T-shirt stained with colour as an editioned work. The walls covered with the wooden wallpaper, bringing to mind the wooden architecture of her native home; as well as the genealogical trees with stitched patterns and brushstrokes on canvas, all refer to Streuli as a painter practicing in the 21st century and questioning her medium’s potency, relevance, and placement in contemporary art.
Christine Streuli was born in Switzerland, 1975. She spent her childhood holidays with her grandparents in Tunisia. She studied both in Zurich and Berlin. She participated in the International Studio and Curatorial Program New York (2001/02) and was granted the Yvonne Lang-Chardonnens-Scholarship (2002) as well as a scholarship in San Francisico (2005). Streuli was artist-in-residence in Cairo, Egypt. In 2004, 2005 and 2006 she received the Swiss Art Award of the Federal Office for Culture, Switzerland and in 2003 the Kiefer-Hablitzel Prize. Christine Streuli represented Switzerland at the 52. Venice Biennial in 2007, 2014 she participated in the 19. Sydney Biennial, Australia. She had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Zurich (2001), Helmhaus Zurich (2009), Kunstmuseum Luzern (2013), as well as Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (2013) ….and many more ... She lives in Berlin.