ROOM Diseño Magazine
1. According to your biography, you live and work in Meyriez, a small Swiss community with less than one thousand inhabitants. Why and how you develop your work in a place so far away from the big artistic centers like London, Berlin or New York?

The work I create comes from the inside, therefore I do not depend so much on any particular urban environment or external stimulation that can be found in big cities or urban centres. My creative process starts by observing myself and the everyday, the nature, the people, the world itself. This is where I take the ideas from. I try to collect impressions and reflect thoughts, objects and moments and this can happen independently from any cultural movement. So, the geographic location is not that important for my artistic process. I would even consider the fact that I don’t live in a city to be an advantage regarding the creation of my work. It allows me to keep a certain focus, I can isolate myself from too many external influentions and the sometimes excesses of civilisation. Also, I travel a lot and find inspiration often in simple things such as abandoned spaces. After all, you should not forget that Switzerland is very small. All major cities in Switzerland are within 100km of driving distance from the place where I live. It takes me less than two hours to get to France, Italy or Germany – from this point of view you could say that I live in a big city which is surrounded by mountains and nature. 

2. It is known the Swiss historically neutrality. Could you tell us if that minimalism, that apparent simplicity and the tension that your pieces give off, could have something to do with that apparent political, social and cultural equidistance of your country?

I believe that there is a reasonable explanation why the swiss culture, and their people, are good at creating a certain artistic value, or an aesthetic language that thrives from reduction. I do not compare myself, but refer to the achievements of big artists such as Alberto Giacometti (Sculptor), Max Bill (Graphic Design), Peter Zumthor (Architect) among many others that certainly contributed to your perception of swiss art. The reason: Within the swiss culture lies a certain potential that evolved from history and the geographic location: In a country with long winters, limited surface and very little natural resources you need to think precisely how you prepare your necessities to survive and what you do to make a living. Think about it: With a winter that lasts 5 months you plant your potatoes on time only, harvest them at the right moment, store everything correctly to make it remains good as long as possible in order to be sure that it lasts until the next harvest in the coming year. Switzerland is built a country without any natural resources and I truly believe that this is a connection why we are so much defined through reliability, constancy and order in general. At it is applied in many industries which we are famous for, be it the creation of watches, tourism or client services. What I want to say: If you transfer this values to the process of artistic creation you pretty much end up in the corner of minimalistic simplicity and reduction.
3. How would you define your work?

I would define my work as minimalistic conceptual art. My work evolves around me as a personality. And I evolve around my work because I reflect my life in it.  It is who I am and how I feel. 
With my work I try to walk the thin line between reality and virtuality because it is very liberating not to care about limitations. Sometimes my artwork is physically “real” and sometimes it’s only a digital illusion, so what? I started to work this concept because it allows me to move on with my creative work quickly, get one piece done allows to move forward. Also, I fear to be stuck with the downside of physical creation: In particular i am talking about storing space, the financial issue, time to organise everything and time to actually create it. Nowadays I work practically only physical. And most of my older artworks could actually be displayed in a real space if I would find a gallery to make it happen. 
From my point of view, contemporary art (or anything else) doesn’t need to have a spacial and physical existence today. The digital world is part of our everyday culture and art can, and should, reflect this state of our current world. This is one of the primary and key roles of art after all: It has to show the current state of the culture and reflect or anticipate the issues. The time we live in, just happens to be on the edge of a massive epic shift towards virtuality.

4. Concrete, sacks, stones and other materials take an evident, overwhelming and disturbing force. What do they tell us according to their creator?

Concrete and stone are massive materials. Their appearance is overwhelming. An they are amazingly versatile and enduring. They can take almost any shape and resist to most external influences. Moreover, they are not complicated to process and come at a low cost. For me, the perfect attributes to create and explore my artistic ideas. My origin lies in stone sculpting and I stay true to it, somehow. In relation to me as a person, this material attributes are also precisely who I would like to become: Versatile and enduring, resistent to external influences. 

5. In your aesthetic exploration you have linked mundane moments with deep reflections. This is something that you perform giving a new reading to reused materials and objects. Why you have used this type of materials?

It’s not and never about the material itself, the material is just the medium. 
I generally start with thoughts and whatever happens to be a good candidate to visualise the idea will be used to create the sculpture. 

6. On the other hand, white is the enveloping element of your works, as well as the use of black, another recurring color. Why you use them?

The white-space environment is a perfect neutral setting to present art. It allows the spectator to focus on the work itself without too many visual distractions. And it creates a communicative situation that brings value to every creation. You know, a sculpture on the floor is just not as well perceived as a sculpture placed on a white cube, that’s a fact. Thats’s why there is a stage for concerts! I believe it is hard or even impossible to understand my work if it would be placed in a distracting space - distance and emptiness are essential for the focus of the spectator and the transmission of ideas. My work is not trying to be visually loud and therefore demands a moment of reflection to be understood. 

Then, the other thing with the absence of color, or the reason why my work is basically black, grey and white, is due to the fact that I do not want to articulate my artistic ideas in a complex manner. The less colours I need the stronger the idea has to be. It’s really about focus and reduction, using the less needed to achieve the greatest possible, getting to the essence of things. 

7. The Carpenters or Arne Quinze are very unlike artists with whom you could be related, either by the type of materials or by the own morphology of the pieces. According to you, what would be your main influences? Which artists are your main sources?

Honestly, I don’t know. I try not to have any sources because if I would, my creations would become copies. I love old masters such as Hieronymus Bosch and Bruegel. But regarding contemporary art I avoid looking around too much and do not have contact with many artists, but rather avoid the so-called “art scene”. I work for other reasons. And I pay the price: which is limited success. Of course, I look around and follow some fellow young creators such as Jenny Brosinskiy, Lucas Simoes, Mariann Imre and others. I feel, in a good sense, suspicious and at the same time reassuring that there are some artists that work the same concepts as I do. Maybe we are all part of the same movement which has no name yet. We certainly work on similar questions tough. And the rest is not important. It’s just the artistic process and output over the lifetime that matters.

8. Besides sculpture, installations and digital image, which other formats could be of your interest?

I want to write a series of cinematic short movies! I want to deal with the medium film because it reunites all the great artistic forms of expression. Film and music. Through film you can explore and tell stories in a deep and complex way. And music interest me because it is the greatest invention of mankind and the most versatile form of art to transmit ideas. A melody can change from absolute joy and harmony into sadness within seconds – there is no other medium with a similar momentum and cross-cultural impact.

9. You have been defined as a “master of deception”; could you explain us this term?

I’ve often said that I try to walk the thin line between reality and virtuality. It never occurred to me that I became a “Master of deception” during this process and I honestly think this is a rather disappointing title. Sometimes my artwork is physically “real” like a sculpture or installation. And sometimes it is an illusion – a digitally created, two dimensional image like a painting. As I said before, nowadays I create practically everything in “real” because I feel a personal necessity to touch things, to walk around them, ultimately to create objects that have a presence. I want my objects to be here like babies around me, as a real thing, as a self-evident truth which doesn’t need further explanation.
To clarify: In 2012, I started to work a lot with digital images because the concept allowed me to move on with my creative work quickly. With the raise of digital media and the acceleration of technology I was interested in exploring the shift of perception between, what one could call, the real and unreal. But the journey of an artist is a journey of discovery and so I moved on. 

10. The unreality is part of your proposals. What does it seek to provoke in the spectator when it alters the exhibition spaces creating installations that change the perception and reality of the place?

The definition of real and unreal is impossible. Would you say that a thought in your brain is unreal because you can’t touch it? Or that a painting is closer to reality than a digitally created image because it was made with a brush and color instead of software? Are you the same person in real life as on your social media profiles – or is it an imaginative, produced representation of how you want to be perceived? This type of questions are central to my work.   
11. Could you explain us how is the process by which a certain object ends up losing its initial value to be transformed into something else under the weight of your discourse?

It comes often at the same time. I am observing the world and I project my creativity on objects. I often combine two extreme opposite feelings and objects and evolve a condition around it. They get a soul and a meaning through my work. What also happens to me sometimes, is that I see for example a lonely bin in the streets i might ask myself: What if he could talk, what could be his story. How would he feel and observe the world if he had a soul? You get some funny answers out of that.

12. In relation to the previous question, we talk about that transformation is important in your discourse. This is a transformation or metamorphosis that entails a strong contrast and conflict. From where do these aspects come from?

I am fascinated by the misplacement of things. It represents the harsh truth of reality. A cloud has nothing to do in a closed space. A fissure in the floor is on the opposite side of our common understanding of aesthetics. This is where I work, on the edge of understanding and between extreme conditions. The peaceful atmosphere you describe comes from the spectator himself, it’s what happens to us humans when we see something that we don’t understand or that is to strange not to look at. I am an observer and I am fascinated by the extremes. Throughout nature you can observe that everything is built on two poles. There is night and day, cold and warm, birth and death, happiness and sadness…even the faces of humans are similar in extreme sadness and sexual excitement. Everything is often so amazingly close to each other. It’s a bit like every extreme needs his opposite power and connects somewhere with it. They depend and exchange their presence and need each other to survive. This is basically what fascinates me because i still don’t understand it. This is what my art is all about. About the things I don’t understand. I try to find connections where there’s no obvious link, combinations of impossible things that become obvious. Then, and only then many things start to make sense.
13. In your series 7 Deadly Sins one of the most striking elements is the use of an object, a ping pong racket, which reinterpreted speaks of each of the seven sins. Tell us about your creative process, how you develop an idea like this, until you finish it.

This is where I work, I mix totally opposite objects to express thoughts.
14. On one occasion you have commented that "True contemporary art has to reflect periodic phenomena and should never be afraid to use the technical tools of its time". Do you see digital art and social networks as the natural exhibition space towards Art will develop?

I don’t see digital art or social media as the next big artistic movement at all. I just believe that these new tools can be considered to get in-line with all the other art-forms which evolved trough time. Sculpture,  painting and literature are the oldest, video and performance are younger forms of expression and digital art can become a respected form of creation in the future. But it really is just another tool, and art should never be about the tools or materials. It’s about ideas.  

15. To conclude, on what projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about what Fabian Bürgy is going to do during this coming year?

To be honest, I am not sure yet. It’s winter and I work less in this period. New ideas will arise when time has come, it is important to give space for improvisation. There are many ideas and scribbles in my head but I will take the chance to create the right ones when the time has come. For this year, I really aim to make a major exhibition and to find an additional gallery who represent me. Although I create art since many years I really fell that I just started. The best is yet to come.

You can see my latest work on

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Ruin Magazine / CHILE

First I would like to ask for your experience with art at 15 years. How it all started.
It all started with my apprenticeship as a stone sculptor in 1995. Thanks to my mentor P.Casny I got very interested in art, he inspired me to go ahead with my ideas and encouraged me to spend my spare time in the evenings working on my skills. He revealed something inside me, I still don't know what exactly. Maybe it was the fascination to explore the world through art - to look at everything with the perception of an observing, dreaming human being that creates. 
Watching your work I noticed that it exist like a game between the aggressive and funny, two concepts that may be seen as distant, but in your own words. How would you define your works and the concepts under you work?
From my observations, the extremes are often very close one from each other. Throughout nature you can observe that everything is built on two poles. There is night and day, cold and warm, birth and death, happiness and sadness...even the faces of humans are similar in extreme sadness and pure sexual lust. It's a bit like every extreme needs his opposite power and connects somewhere with it. They connect and exchange their presence and depend on each other to survive. This is basically what fascinates me because i still don't understand it. This is what my art is all about. About the things I don't understand. I try to find connections where there's no obvious link, combinations of impossible things that become obvious. To give them a soul. That's where the magic happens. When the impossible can have reason and starts to make sense.
I'll get distant now from your person. Today we can see a lot of artist that work as part or in the area of conceptualisation. Al lot of people criticise this way of create and other praise it, but for a person who do conceptual art. What vision does he have about it?
Conceptual art is not new, it exists in a similar way since exactly 100 years due to Marcel Duchamp. The fascination behind it is simple: Through conceptual art you can express complex thoughts within the utmost minimalistic usage of physical materials. In our present world, we are visually over stimulated. A painting doesn't have the same impact on people like it did in the past. Back then, people would see a painting and literally dive into it, spend time watching and thinking about it. Nowadays, we look at something and move on to the next - we forget what we saw, we are dull to receive information because we are all the time exposed to visual input screaming at us. Conceptual art always tries to find a way where the spectator has to involve himself actively and intellectually - so that he can understand the artist's message and understand the meaning and context of the artwork. Yet, I can totally understand that it can be hard to find the way to read and speak the language of conceptual art for spectators. In my work, I take the conceptual approach a step further: Many of my works are so conceptual that they don't even exist. They look as if they have been physically created or even been exposed in a gallery - but they are not.
It seems like it exist some diversity at the time when you explore your work.From where do you get all those facets?
The diversity comes from my playful attitude. I am constantly gathering ideas and fragments of possible artworks; sometimes I create them immediately, sometimes I carry them around for years until it is the right moment to harvest them. Only (and each time) if I create a new idea, I open a new door to new ideas. If the wheel keeps turning the next idea comes up, practically by itself. And this is how my work constantly evolves and how I move on to the next artwork. It's like layers of ideas, stacked one on top of each other and endlessly evolving. The diversity comes form my many interests, I am fighting hard to keep a certain consistency in my work but don't want to limit myself. Other artists paint the same mountains for 30 years, that's absolutely not my thing. My attitude is "never stop exploring". I need to move on. I need to keep it going. Always. 

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Think Tank Gallery LA
Interview by Jacob Patterson
I had the opportunity to interview Swiss conceptual artist and sculptor Fabian Bürgy, who is currently in residence in Berlin. The interview challenged some of my notions of what art means to a contemporary society, and my pointed questions met impacting answers. Conceptual work has never been so convincing or tangible.
March 2013

Jacob Patterson: You describe your work as playful, yet there are few artists who create more impacting and violent works. What is it about these symbols and images that you find to be playful?

Fabian Bürgy: I describe my work as playful – but also as a “slightly violent and disturbing process of transformation, misplacement and dysfunction of things”. You know, I have the mental freedom to do what I like and what I am interested in - that gives me the liberty to playfully conceive artistic ideas without pressure. As a result I create sometimes funny and sometimes rather aggressive artworks.
My goal is to give birth to my ideas and to create solid, unseen and therefore honest and hopefully relevant contemporary art.

JP: You began your career as a sculptor before moving into this place where you now produce images graphically or create within the spectrum of new media; how long did you sculpt before finding these methods, and why the transition?

FB: In 1995 I started sculpting professional and did it for 8 years. Although fascinated by stone and plaster, I somehow always felt that there was too much limitation in the medium. There’s no motion, no 4th dimension and plenty of physical constraints – given facts, which unfortunately inhibit the range of contemporary creative expression. Stone is eternal though, something unusual in our contemporary world and a fascinating characteristic.
So I moved towards digital media, imaging and graphics about 12 years ago. Opposite to sculpting, the new technologies offer an amazing potential when it comes to creating ideas and visualizing them. On the other hand, the medium also lacks in some aspects - mostly because of the endless possibilities.
How long did it take for me to find the method? I would say it took me all my life! I never perceived my path (from sculpting towards digital art and back again) as a transition onto something else. I am placing my work and myself exactly in between. It’s the coupling of my different experiences that creates the momentum.

JP: Your digital previews and post productions are impeccably well-made, with the obvious benefit that you can pump out much work within a similar theme and in a similar amount of time, but it is so well-done that it's hard to tell what has really been created and what hasn't. At, for example, how much of the work is tangible?

FB: It has all been created! The idea of my work is to question given situations by provoking seamless shifts between real and unreal using the liberty to use whatever medium is appropriate – this allows me to lift the reality off the rails. In my opinion, this is the best approach to my work, conceptually. True contemporary art has to reflect periodic phenomenon’s and should never be afraid to use the technical tools of its time. By combining the entire range of the historical tools of artistic expression, from sculpting to digital art, I am enabling myself to work without any technical constraints. And due to my skills I manage to create it almost entirely by myself.
For some years now, the distinction between virtual and real is fading massively anyway - and this throughout all aspects of society, technology and communication. Would you say the Internet does not exist because it’s not tangible? Or a printed text is not real because you only feel the paper when you touch it? This is really my point and this is where art has an important role in my understanding.
I say: It basically doesn't matter anymore if something is created physically. The primary condition is that an idea is good and honest. In my case the artistic ideas often work equally well on paper and as a real installation or sculpture. Each implementation has its advantages.

JP: In a style that could equally be envied by both the sculptural Surrealists and heaviest-handed of Minimalists, your work often finds the point between known objects and a mysterious and imposing alternate reality. How do you find the point at which to stop to maintain maximum impact?

FB: When I work on a project I combine my knowledge of classical sculpting with the experience from the design and advertising industry. I don’t know how to locate the alternate reality. Maybe the key is simply to find fascination in confronting opposing forces in combination with a conceptual reduction and the craft. This is probably how I achieve this explosive mix where magic happens.

JP: Simplicity and accessibility is often more difficult to reach than complexity. Your work is so accessible it is almost intimidating, is this something you seek with each work?

FB: There's a good amount of training in the ability to reduce thoughts, create conceptual links and manage to drive creative output into one particular direction. But I am not sure how you can learn that – from my experience I would say: Once you got that path you grow. It remains a painful process though.
The fact that you consider my work accessible and intimidating probably shows that it is coming from an utmost honest spot of my human brain. I am not seeking to create any particular impression or emotion with my projects. But I know that there are a few very profound conditions in human nature, for example fear and fascination, which everybody happens to have. Some of them I probably just manage to express.
JP: Would you like to create all of these pieces in the material world or do they exist with more strength in conceptual formats?

FB: My aim is to create each and every project in both worlds. Material world or not is less important. In the case of most projects, the conceptual strength will remain exactly the same and the spectators will experience just a minimal change in their mental perception. Of course there is, in a certain way, a big difference, but I simply believe that powerful images are as much intimidating as powerful installations and vice versa. In an over visualized world anyway.
As an artist I am obviously looking for galleries, curators and clients that are willing to fund exhibitions, and the actual realization of those artworks that are big scale or technically challenging installations.
JP: What are you doing now and what projects are in your future?

FB: At the moment I am attending an Art Residency in Berlin until summer. This allows me to concentrate on the development of my artistic language. Besides that, I work as an Independent Digital Creative. There are many projects in the pipeline, some are disturbing installations and some are powerful visual ideas. I think the best is yet to come.
Thank you for the interview.
Think Tank Gallery LA
Interview by Jacob Patterson

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How do you define your own identity?
Average human with a visual creative side.

What do you think of the relationship between and the exhibition? Or the art marketing.
At the moment my only concern is to work and create art for myself. I enjoy the freedom of not having the necessity to think about the art market or anything related to it. Once the time has come that I enter the market, I will decide how to proceed.

How to use existing things to give rise to some new ideas?
That’s the art of being creative! It all starts with the pleasure of observing the world around yourself. And then, once you know how to evolve an idea and start a project, each solved situation makes you grow. It usually leads you to the next idea - and that’s how you refine and enhance your artistic language in an endless process. In my case, the hole activity of creation involves 80% of thinking and 20% of physical action.

How did you to get started with your works? Particularly those impressive works, such as Paint Blast or Black Cloud.
I am starting every day again, it’s a never ending story. It took me years to find the right direction, the result of the present artworks is the heritage of the past 20 years. It takes time to get closer to some, any destination.

Could you talk about the work ”black is coming”?
„Black is coming“ is a conceptual work which deals with the „moment“ itself versus „transformation“. I visualized fluids because they inherit the state before and after they appear at the same time. I wanted to create an immersive, frightening situation with the upmost minimal intervention a space. 

I like your works with a single colour basically, what effect your aesthetic tendency?
Since I work in a minimalistic sense, I use very little colour because it works best with my visions. Colours don’t help to communicate the core concept in my case.

The black colour tone gives your work a kind of strength, inner strength, and presents a state of expansion, even a little violence, does it has a relation with your inner state?
No, it doesn’t really have a relation with my inner state in that sense. I like the extrem reduction of things and awkward situations - black and white as colours are good poles and provide a perfect visual impact while demanding a good amount of attention when you use them as an artist.

So far, what do you think is the most difficult thing during your creation?
The most difficult thing is to know when to stop.

How do you combine the digital media, imaging and graphics with your major sculpture? Is it a playful experience?
Digital is an essential tool for me. I am working in an inverted sense and often create the installations first as a drawing, or even in CGI. This is a time and money saving way to create my ideas. Once I am convinced of the object as an image (or if I have a good occasion to show or sell it) I start to actually build it physically.

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## Your work is currently was exhibited at the Miami Art Basel and is still being shown as part of the group exhibition ‘Transform’. What does the theme transform mean in relation to your work?
Transformation is a central aspect of my work. I am fascinated by the misplacement and metamorphosis of things. It represents the harsh truth of reality. Change is a basic condition of life. This is what my art is all about. About change, the things I don’t understand and the things I start to understand. I try to find connections where there’s no obvious link, combinations of impossible things that become obvious. Transform them into a meaningful statement. Then, and only then many things start to make sense.
## Can you tell us a bit about your journey to being showcased there? 
Alpha Gallery form Miami contacted me about a year ago to showcase my work on A few months later, when they organised the Group Exhibition "Transform", I had the opportunity to participate with the picture "Black cloud". The opening of the exhibition was during Art Basel Week in Miami. But the show was not exactly at Art Basel Miami.
## What makes you so drawn to the mundane or “everyday?”
It's the invisibility, the understatement of small, unspectacular objects which surround us everyday. With the age, I started trying to appreciate the simple moments in life. They are pretty valuable - and I want to be aware of them. That's why I work with mundane elements. The need a stage to be seen, they deserve a voice and they are very good companions to work with.   
## Some of your work can make people uncomfortable or “disturbed”. To what extent do you make art to shock or provoke thought?
I don't want to shock or provocate anybody, at least not in purpose. Of course, there is a certain disturbing element in many of my works; but that happens to be just my signature. The fact that it can be perceived as uncomfortable shows that my work is communicating, that there is something in it. Art that interacts and that starts a dialogue with the spectator is good.   
## While your work is quite dark, there is an element of comedy too. How do you aim to strike a balance?
Throughout nature you can observe that everything is built on two poles. I am fascinated by these extremes. There is night and day, cold and warm, birth and death, happiness and sadness…even the faces of humans are similar in extreme sadness and during sexual excitement. Everything is often so amazingly close to each other. It’s a bit like every extreme needs his opposite power and connects somewhere, somehow with it. 
This is basically what I am exploring because i still don’t understand it. This is what my art is all about. About the things I don’t understand. I try to find connections where there’s no obvious link, combinations of the impossible that becomes obvious. From the moment when two extreme opposite elements are merged, a new meaning and condition evolves around it. They get a different soul and a specific meaning. And somehow it appears that the harder the statement, the more "comedy" appears to come along. It's nice when people see my work and as a first reaction lough and then start to reflect on the darker side of it's meaning. 
## Can you tell us about your creation process and how you see the interaction between sculpture and digital imaging?
It’s not and never about the material itself, the material is just the medium. New forms of expression can always be considered to get in-line with all the other art-forms which evolved trough time. Sculpture,  painting and literature are the oldest, video and performance are younger forms of expression and digital art can become a another medium of creation in the future. But that doesn't even matter. It really is just another tool to explore and visualize, and art should never be about the tools or materials. It’s about ideas and the reflection of contemporary phenomenons. If an idea is best created digitally i will give birth to it on a screen and print it. If it has more impact as a physical sculpture, I might create it in concrete. After all, some thing are very simple. 

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