By being awarded the Art-St-Urban Switzerland Residency, I have the wonderful opportunity to work in Switzerland for two months with Heinz and Gertrud Aeschlimann. It has only been a week, but so much has happened already. This is just the beginning of the residency, so check back for updates in the next two months!
From the beginning, I have been surround by a warm and welcoming environment. I was welcomed by Gertrud on the first day, introduced to my studio and house mate Shine, and met Heinz in the studio the following day. Gertrud and Heinz have hosted both Shine and I for dinner already and have provided everything we need. Luckily, Shine and I get along amazingly. I say luckily since we had never met and will be working, living, and traveling together for the next two months.
Switzerland is rich in color and is one of the most beautiful places I’ve traveled to. This beauty works its way into the art of Heinz Aeschlimann. He is an engineer turned artist and is fascinated with how materials work. Using mostly industrial materials Heinz transforms them into elegant sculptures. He is an incredibly hard worker; he likely wakes up before you and works longer too.
Already in my first week here we have dived straight into working. With his construction company, we have access to materials we couldn’t find anywhere else. He mixes his own form of asphalt that is stronger than most. We have poured it into molds, formed it by hand, and layered it on top of other objects. This first week has just been about experimenting; Heinz insist that we make experiences not sculptures. We are just focusing on testing the different materials. In the studio, we have set fire to almost every material, used welders not just to build but to create texture, and attempted to combine it all together.
The new materials that I’m working with speak their own language. Figuring out what to do with them has been a fun challenge. Communication is what this residency has been about for me so far. English is both a second language to Shine and Heinz. I have been more aware of all the slang I use on a daily basis, which can make it difficult to properly communicate ideas. Similar to the new material, I have to find different ways to state my intentions in each project, which has been helpful to really narrow my thoughts down to a specific point.
In the studio, out socializing, and through traveling, a lot has already happened here in Art-St-Urban Switzerland. I am looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks has in store. You are more than welcome to follow my adventure on Instagram @bsievers15, and I will have two more posts for you guys!