Arthur Aeschbacher, Untitled Décollage, 1986, Silkscreen on cloth, 252 × 124 cm, Edition of 35
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 252 × 124 cm
    (99 ¼ × 48 ⅞ inches)
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  • Arthur Aeschbacher was a Swiss painter known for his distinctively thick collages and graphically fragmented paintings. He was born in Geneva and studied in Paris at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière with Fernand Léger. While he is often associated with the Nouveaux Réalistes, he remained ideologically distant and distinct from them. He favored posters and other printed matter as the primary materials for his work. Collage was his “painterly” means of developing a new visual language centering on color, viscosity, and edges through peeling, tearing, pasting, and reassembling torn pieces of posters. For collages such as Rue Foraine (1963) and Pain (1966), Aeschbacher assembled a spectrum surface of density and overlapping edges, graphically and typography illegible yet boldly pictorial. In the 1970s, he returned to painting while still employing elements from the collage techniques he had developed. For example, he painted letters fragmented across the canvas on a dark ground in black, grey, or blue before overlaying it with a color grid. Further minimizing his works in the 1980s, as in Geometrische Komposition I (1980), Aeschbacher began working with more rigidly structured compositions. Late in his oeuvre, he utilized both the abundance of his earlier collages and the reductive quality of his paintings. The typographic element has always remained key throughout Aeschbacher’s oeuvre, alternately playing between the flat graphical poster and the figurative gestural force in painting, where color unifies and expounds. Aeschbacher also collaborated and participated in various artists’ projects and books, including contributions to In Octavo, a series of ten artists’ books published by Guy Schraenen Editeur (1990–92). He also was one of the fifty-nine artists who collaborated with Robert Watts on his target series, Fun with Fluxus (1984). Aeschbacher’s work has been included in important exhibitions in, among others, the Louvre (1964) and the Centre Pompidou (1985) in Paris. His work can be found in museums in France, such as Centre d’Art Contemporain de Corbeil, as well as in Belgium, Switzerland, and Japan.

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