Swiss Artitst Ueli Kühni explains how his artistic journey took him to interpretative realism. Learn more about his path and statement:
I grew up in Switzerland and as a child drawing was always my favorite occupation. Later on I became a textile designer, because drawing plays a central role in this field as well. During and after my apprenticeship, I got to know various design techniques. From simple drawing with colored pencils to complex techniques such as silk-screen printing and gravure printing. After my training, I worked as a tour guide, textile designer, interior designer and taught at Art and Design schools. I also was a consultant and training manager for a textile company and a large retail company. Therefore drawing has always been a cornerstone in my life. On journeys through Europe, North Africa, the United States of America and Asia, hundreds of sketches were created. In 2008 I had the opportunity to have studio we would share my wife and I. That was the moment when I intensified my artistic activity. I studied acrylic painting and watercolor painting. Today, besides urban sketching, these are my most important artistic means of expression as a painter. For the past two years, drawing and painting have been my main occupation.
His artistic statement
I am inspired by the secondary, the unnoticed and the unimportant. Structures, textures, surfaces. The interplay of light and shadow. It is certainly due to my close connection to textiles. The banalities of everyday life offer inexhaustible inspiration: people on the beach, at a pedestrian crossing, washing their cars. I use my own photographs a lot to paint and draw. Indeed, I have thousands of pictures that can serve as a basis for me. Acrylic and watercolors painting are used to depict the subject and the story I want to tell. Since a photograph is not satisfying enough for me, I need to put the image through my head and my hand on canvas or paper. I consciously and unconsciously influence the subject to be depicted. As a result, my Artworks are mostly close to an interpretative realism, sometimes almost photorealistic. It is a way to tell stories likely to inspire the viewer to shape his or her own story based on an image. The ordinary loses its banality.
For the past ten years, my way of perceiving the environment has changed. I see textures, light and shadows more consciously, sometimes also more analytically. Even if I am not standing in front of the canvas, my paintings occupy my painter’s mind. I was strongly influenced by a six-month studio stay in Cairo. Much of what used to be important is no longer important today. This greatly influenced my Art as a painter. I have become eager to include experimentations in my work. In that context, I have just completed a series of pieces on waste and scrap. I also concentrate on mountains and its landscapes. Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), one of the most famous Swiss painters, has painted mountains of the Bernese Oberland over and over again during his artistic career. His Artworks inspired me to make excursions to the respective region in order to take photos and to translate them into paintings in the studio.
One of the most important exhibitions I had as a painter was a first retrospective together with my wife and her gravure prints in 2016. It was called “Die letzte Nacht der alten Zeit” (“The last night of the old times”) and took place in my region of Switzerland. It was particularly important to me because it also was the beginning of a new life dedicated to creativity in a different way. My wife and I are planning an anniversary exhibition this year in our studio, which we have been running for ten years now.
His relation to Art-Trope
With Art-Trope, the idea is to have the opportunity to exhibit in Paris and London and thus present my Artworks to an audience that does not know me. I also need help regarding my visibility on the Internet and on social media. Art-Trope supports me in managing my digital communication while creating content promoting my Art. It is an important part that will contribute to my positioning in the Fine Arts market. There is no doubt it will impact positively my Art notoriety.
See Ueli Kühni’s Art-Trope profile here.
Read our article about Art-Trope Photographer Guillaume Dimanche’s exhibition INTOTO 6 at the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard here.