It is always an adventure to find one's way into an artist's work, an adventure and no less a test which one may pass or fail to pass. The conditions are set by the artist himself with his work and his personality. Sometimes the work is the determinant factor, sometimes the personality. The conditions are ideal when the outer and inner habitus of an artist registers perfectly with the special character of his work. This seems to hold good of Heidi Bucher.
Since the beginning of the 70's Heidi Bucher (1926 - 1993) has been known in Europe, USA and Canada for her "skinning actions" and her "skin rooms".
Old distinguished, abandoned buildings have always fascinated the artist. Beginning with her paternal house followed by the Hotel Grande Albergo di Brissago from the turn of the century, the psychiatric clinic of Bellevue, the prison of Le Landeron (to cite few of them) , Heidi Bucher skinned whatever had a personal, historical or architectural significance to her: doors and windows, banisters, stairwells, furniture, walls....entire rooms.
Throughout her whole life, she passionately collected pieces of clothing, found objects, doors and remnants of abandoned and collapsed buildings. What she did with the carefully preserved remainings and mementos was to keep them and conserve them through the coating of the surface with a "balm" of latex - an act of singling out, of documentation even of monumentalization and consecration.
As a result of an ingenious crafting technique, attuned to the artist's personal purpose, the "object" loses its original material quality and volume. A process of rarefaction too: the voluminous bodies are transformed to a fine skin and real spaces are etherialized. (The thinning of the skins to the point of transparency allows it to be looked into and seen through).
Heidi Bucher skins and objects are not merely trailing the anecdotes of their provenance - they are rather a safeguarding of the evidence comparable in fact to the attempts that have been made in various quarters to conserve things from the past by artistic "archaeological" methods and at the same time to change them, to bring them up to date, to give them new life.
To understand this fixation of the memory, Proust's "Recherché du temps perdu" is likely to put us on the right track.
There are three major phases involved in the artist's creative process: finding the "object" is the first phase: its transmutation constitutes the second phase, a curious blend of technical method and associative intervention. The last phase, not to be set aside, consists of the actual aging process which alters the conditions of the skins, decomposes, rigidifies, harden them to finally lend them an archaeological quality
Heidi Bucher's work is obviously steeped in a very personal atmosphere that will hardly compare with anything one has previously encountered and is in this sense highly original and individual.
Permanent Art Exhibition.
Galería La Villa
Plaza Clavijo y Fajardo, 4.
35530 Villa de Teguise
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Fax. +34-928 845 711
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