A traveler’s search and what he found
An interview with artist and start'19 host Stefan Bucher-Twerenbold, who weaves stories and objets trouvés into his art - for instance in his new installation "The Journey to Baba Yaga Wonderland".
The works of swiss artist Stefan Bucher-Twerenbold are playful, they contain elements of Art Brut and influences of comic art and are mainly made of objets trouvés. If you take a closer look, you will find familiar everyday objects in his works that serve a new purpose in a non-functional manner. Born in Lucerne and now based in Nebikon, Stefan Bucher-Twerenbold works as a freelance artist and as a part-time teacher. His works tell stories that appeal to children, but also, on a different level, to adults. He will open his installation The Journey to Baba Yaga Wonderland on January 27 at the Landessender Beromünster, a historical institution that exhibits a wide variety of art. We asked what it was all about.
Where at the Landessender Beromünster are you currently exhibiting your art?
At the moment I'm exhibiting in a room in the Landessender Beromünster. In general, I have a large sculpture outside, but it's been there for quite some time. I will open the exhibition on January 27 at the Landessender Beromünster on the occasion of start'19. The work is about the records of my travel diary on one of my many journey.
My installation The Journey to Baba Yaga Wonderland has to do with the Russian Baba Yaga fairy tales that I became aware of during my journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia and Siberia. It is interesting that the fairy tales in Siberia have disappeared in the countryside, even though they had been handed down from generation to generation over thousands of years. I used the ink drawings of the fairy tales on handmade paper and integrated them into the installation. The work of art itself is also a journey, because it is a work in progress like a model railway that will never be finished.
I work with objets trouvés. For example, the platform which the ink paintings are on consists of 900 kilos of hard rubber rollers from the Gotthard Base Tunnel. They originate from the material conveyor belts there. I like to travel to places where not many people go.
What kind of institution is the Landessender Beromünster?
We are an artist collective. The Landessender has more people than the Art Museum in Lucerne and it is one of the best known and largest complete works of art in Switzerland. There always is a guided tour, which means that it's not like a museum that you can walk around freely in. It's a huge complex - a special concept! The historical component is also really interesting: the national radio station was the only radio station that didn't broadcast propaganda during the Second World War. It was well secured and at that time and for decades to come an important independent news station. Thus it became the symbol of the "mental defense of the country".
What is your work process like?
I started painting and participated in the international comix festival fumetto in Lucerne with these works. While I was there, people came up to me and asked, "Don't you have anything three-dimensional?” And since I worked with superheroes, I made Heroes out of hero cans. I've always done a variety of work: some themes I've done with sculptures, some with sculptures and painting and some with painting. Over the summer I tend to make sculptures and in the winter I paint, mostly in series. The installation in the Landessender is both - the paintings are part of the installation and even three-dimensional, because they can be opened as a leporello book.
Everything that I make into a sculpture is an objet trouvé. Thirty percent of my working process consists of driving around Switzerland and searching for objects. The next thirty percent are then to combine the found parts and make sure that it fits into the series. And the remainder is spent creating the sculpture and incorporating it into the concept.
How long does this process take?
It's different for every project. For one of my major commissions, I worked for a year in the metalworking shop because it was important that the statics were right due to a weight of two tons. But the smaller figures are sometimes created in one day. And sometimes I already have all the parts there, but the creative process takes longer. I like to compare it to Meret Oppenheim: purely from the point of view that the process of making is not art, but the brilliant idea at the end which makes everything appear so simple has to fit. That's what takes time.
How did you come up with the idea of making art and what inspires you?
I've actually always done creative things. When I worked as a teacher, I did projects with the kids, things like cartoons, art projects and carnival floats. That's what I needed my creative energy for. Then one time I had a class that just didn't want to motivate itself. My wife said to me, "Why don't you do your own project?" And I had actually been wanting to do that for a long time. Today, in addition to my work as an artist, I work part-time as a teacher in mathematics didactics, which is also creative!
What awaits the guests at start'19 on January 27th?
My work The Journey to Baba Yaga Wonderland will be opened on the occasion of start'19. The opening will take place as part of the Sunday guided tour at KKLB (Kunst und Kultur im Landessender Beromünster) and I will discuss the work with the artist Wetz.
There will also be a special guided tour for the children. The event will last about 90 minutes and there is a restaurant for those who will want to eat and drink something.
start’19 - sculpt the world with us!
Landessender Beromünster – KKLB
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Can’t come to Beromünster? There are other start'19 events planned for January 27th - at 73 other venues in 22 countries start’19 will celebrate three-dimensional art! Choose an event near you to take part - there is certain to be one close to you.
Click here to find your start’19-event!
Author: Christina Benesch
After completing her master's degree in "Doing Culture" last summer, Christina Benesch now works in the Munich sculpture network office and assists the start'19 hosts .