David de Tscharner

    Based between Brussels and Paris, Swiss artist David de Tscharner has developed a body of work that includes experimentations in different artistic fields such as collage, video or publishing but it is through sculpture that he asserts himself progressively. Using elements such as time constraints, geographical contexts, biographical references and participative processes to magnify the materials he handles, he turns sculpture into a catalyzer that draws links between intimate and social experiences. The profusion, sometimes confusing, of his assemblages reveals an unfailing curiosity and a strong interest for the notion of loss. In this sense, David de Tscharner’s practice can be linked to the Heideggarian idea of “Holzweg”, a path that leads to nowhere except to one’s being in a state of exploration.

    Born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1979, David de Tscharner graduated from the art schools ESBA in Geneva and La Cambre in Brussels in 2005, where he teaches now. He participated in many exhibitions in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Next at Galerie Albert Baronian in 2009, One Sculpture a Day at Aliceday in 2012 and Fantasmagorie at Frac des Pays de la Loire in 2014 are among his noticeable solo shows. Art director of the magazine Code between 2005 and 2010, he also collaborates with artists like Florence Doléac, Benoît Platéus, Eric Croes and Jean-Baptiste Bernadet.

    One Sculpture A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

    “ One Sculpture a Day Keeps the Doctor Away started as a response to the invitation from the artist collective, La Table Ronde, to exhibit in the storefront they occupy in the center of Brussels. The exhibition proposal had only one rule: to react to a verb related to the idea of “conversation” and specifically selected by the hosts for each artist. The action ascribed to David De Tscharner was “to confide”.

    In the midst of a particularly intense creative period, during which David produced numerous drawings and sketches, experimented with new sculptures and tested some original installation ideas, he decided to build a display structure on which he would present a new creation every day. Throughout one month, he thus “confided” his freshly made works to the gaze of passers-by in the lively street where the shop window is located.

    Through the succession of objects, a narrative was woven that evoked the journey of the artist’s reflection, tinged with personal experiences. The first work presented, for instance, was an old cooking pot in which a strangegreen mixture soaked. This work acted as a metaphor for the artist’s practice, which combined colorful plastic substances, found objects and discarded materials, with playfulness and total un-inhibition. The following day, the succeeding sculpture revealed a much more autobiographical note: a face molded in plastic was violently stabbed by a wooden stick… after a lover’s quarrel, according to the artist.

    At the end of the exhibition, David decided to continue the experiment on the Internet, via the website www.1sculpture1day.com. During one year, each day, David published a picture of his most recent work in his virtual storefront. The language that unfolds before our eyes blends opposites – abstract and figurative forms, natural and artificial materials, found and self-made objects, bi-and tri-dimensional work – in sculptures at once creepy and alluring which also bear significant traces of drawing and collage.

    As the son of an art therapist, it is noteworthy that the project title refers to the therapeutic potential of the artistic practice. Each sculpture thus presented on the website is left free to our interpretation, without any description or title that would guide our judgments. Only the evocative shapes and materials allow us to grasp the possible meanings of the objects. Through this game of free interpretation to which we are invited to participate, it is the artist’s creative process that we are meant to discover.

    For its first presentation in its entirety at the Aliceday gallery in Brussels, the series of 366 sculptures is displayed on large shelves in recycled wood, a common material in the artist’s practice, which remind museum reserves. This display mode creates a total environment, where the proliferation of objects appears surprising and generous.

    A publication accompanies the presentation in the space. Even if it includes the drawings of all the sculptures, the book doesn’t act as an ordinary archive of the project which is already available on the website www.1sculpture1day.com. As a coloring book, the publication invites the public to appropriate the artist’s project and to create, through the same playful approach, their own versions of the sculptures. Beyond the opportunity it offers to anyone to benefit from the “therapeutic” virtues of the project One Sculpture a Day Keeps the Doctor Away, each book is also an object in itself. The artist has indeed produced 366 unique copies of the publication. The cover of each copy duplicates one of the 366 sculptures reproduced inside the book. Unlike the black and white silhouettes that make up the images inside the coloring book, the covers exhibit stains of pure color, spray-painted through stencils, which imitate the shape and color effects of the sculptures.

    The making of both the coloring books and the sculptures, which are all hand-made, requires a very laborious work, similar to craftsmanship. Even if every action – to make another sculpture, to make another book – that the artist takes is identical to the previous one it is also different each time. Like walking, it is through the repetition of a simple gesture that the artist explores a new territory every day. David de Tscharner thus ventures on the path of creation, a path which, according to Heidegger “leads to nowhere”. Regardless of the destination, it is the walking, whose appeal is to explore, to act and to invest, that truly matters.”

    Text by Devrim Bayar