Samuel Blaser: ‹In truth, we are all waiting›

9 April – 9 May 2015

Calmly they are looking at us: naked people, not speaking, touching only slightly if at all. It is notions such as pausing and standing on the side lines that are at the centre of Samuel Blaser’s painterly interest, confronting us with numerous situations that deal with togetherness and communication. Fragments of interaction transcending the depicted figures, they cross over to the beholders, who seem locked in the figures’ gazes. It seems as if the portrayed had been waiting for their audience. And yet, voyeurism is avoided. The viewers are rather participants invited into the picture with no guarantee as to what might happen next. This stepping into the picture extends beyond the usual forms of relationships and traditions, with the artist’s painting style consciously avoiding any categorisation.

Blaser mentions the Old Masters as well as Neue Sachlichkeit’s “magic realism” as references, appropriating their visual language while giving his pictures a distinctly contemporary edge. But his paintings can only be called naturalistic because one can recognise human beings, with hardly any pieces of clothing in this pictures at all. Blaser is mainly interested in the skin, the demarcation of the individual with the outside world, as much in the material as the metaphoric sense. For him depicting and analysing the naked body is tantamount to searching for the human core that sets the individual apart from society as a whole. Last but not least the skin stands for interaction, this most direct of social contacts, also between image and beholder.

Quite in contrast to the bodies’ open demonstration of gender, their heads remain androgynous. By eliminating bold characteristics the artist succeeds in attaining the “idea” of a human being transcending all individual biographical details. In doing so, Blaser adumbrates the various facets of basic questions of existence, encouraging us to reflect not only on social coexistence but also on mortality. Blaser keeps shaping his figures until he himself can learn something from them. They seem to hover in a “centre” exposed to everyone’s gaze and thus denying them a home as it were. This might be the reason why some gazes seem slightly uncanny.

Blaser’s most recent works have grown in format to full-length portraits, a decision that is liberating as much in terms of format as in motif. His paintings – their contents, the artist’s style as well as the medium of painting as such – force the viewers to slow down their eyes, reminding them of the fact that despite all technical progress counterbalances to today's hectic lifestyle do exist. There are hints of action and stories in these new works, but it is notions such as pause, idleness, waiting, hovering and mirroring – often combined with a subtle, conciliatory sense of humour – that dominate them, bringing up the question if there is any activity at all that can do without waiting. Aren’t we all just waiting?



1) In verità, siamo tutti in attesa, from Cesare Pavese, Racconti, Volume primo, Einaudi, 1960, p.335.

«Abgabe», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 95 x 61 cm
«Abgabe», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 95 x 61 cm
«Abgang», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 91 x 72 cm
«Abgang», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 91 x 72 cm
«Architekt», 2013/2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 74 x 52 cm
«Architekt», 2013/2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 74 x 52 cm
«Du solltest spielen», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 90 x 65 cm
«Du solltest spielen», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 90 x 65 cm
«Exit», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 67 x 79 cm
«Exit», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 67 x 79 cm
«Judith», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 55 x 42 cm
«Judith», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 55 x 42 cm
«Paar mit Marabu», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 120 x 90 cm
«Paar mit Marabu», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 120 x 90 cm
«Pascal», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 140 x 97 cm
«Pascal», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 140 x 97 cm
«Ratte», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 95 x 62 cm
«Ratte», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 95 x 62 cm
«Vor der Kirche», 2015, Öl auf Leinwand, 75 x 60 cm
«Vor der Kirche», 2015, Öl auf Leinwand, 75 x 60 cm
«Warum auf dem Teppich bleiben?», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 162 x 90 cm
«Warum auf dem Teppich bleiben?», 2014, Öl auf Leinwand, 162 x 90 cm
 


Archiv Bern/PROGR:
Pascal Danz - Works on Paper 2019
Bodo Korsig - Escape from Memory 2019
Kotscha Reist - Comptoire de Mystic 2019
Martin Kasper
Reto Camenisch 2018
Christian Denzler 2018
Martin Kasper - Im Wechsel 2018
Matchpoint 2018
Andrea Heller / Dominik Stauch 2018
Porter à l'envers 2018
Alfred Hofkunst 2018
Silvia Gertsch - Captured 2018
Winter Story 2017
Böniger / Indermühle 2017
Sereina Steinemann 2017
Xerxes Ach - inside outside 2017
Christian Indermühle - Glarea 2017
Peter Wüthrich 2017
Samuel Blaser - Skip the Pit Stop 2017
Filip Haag - Ins Auge 2017
Kotscha Reist - Painting As Usual 2017
Pascal Danz - Vor der Reise 2016
Laurent Schmid 2016
Freyschmidt/Merkisch/à Wengen 2016
Aquaréelles 2016
Com&Com - New works 2016
Reto Leibundgut - Clementine 2016
Erich Weiss feat. Otto Tschumi 2016
ABOUT PAINTING - PART II 2016
Dominik Stauch 2015
Christian Denzler - Neue Arbeiten 2015
Bodo Korsig - No regrets 2015
Filip Haag - Abrakadie & mehr 2015
Kotscha Reist 2015
Samuel Blaser 2015
Pascal Danz 2015
Elsbeth Böniger - Structures 2015
Catching Moments 2014
Now and Here 2014
(Hi)stories 2014
Summerproject 14
Com&Com - Sky 2014
Katia Bourdarel 2014
Otto Tschumi - Variationen 2014
Lorenz Spring - Spring im Winter 2014
En-lighted 2013
Reto Leibundgut 2013
Patterns 2013
Filip Haag - Oder nach Absprache 2013
Mit dem Körper sehen 2013
Samuel Blaser - Diptycha 2013
Originally Bern 2013
Zwischenspiel: PROGR In-House 2013
Kotscha Reist - Old Ideas 2013
Pascal Danz 2013
Dominik Stauch - Rhinestones 2012
Tiefen Wirkungen 2012
Summerproject 2012
On paper 2012
Com&Com - Clouds 2012
Arno Nollen 2012
Locking glass 2012
Raffaela Chiara - Transformer Kit 2012
X Years 2011
Dominik Stauch - Breathless 2011
Marius Lüscher 2011
Reto Leibundgut - Flora 2011
Kotscha Reist - Painting Life 2011
Microcosmes 2011
Elsbeth Böniger 2011
Laurent Schmid - Rope Tricks 2010
Reto Camenisch 2010
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