Andrea Hasler is a Swiss artist living and working in London. She received her Master in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design, London in 2002. Her wax and mixed media sculptures are characterised by a tension between attraction and repulsion, and highly influenced by artists like John Isaacs, Berlinde De Bruyckere and Louise Bourgeouis. Here she tells Hunger TV why she’s Cinderella with a gun…
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m a feminist concubine, Cinderella with a gun and a vegetarian at barbeques
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Anatomical wax models to illustrate various medical conditions particularly fascinate me. In the 1800s moulages (waxes showing injuries or pathological change in the body) often formed part of travelling shows across Europe; part entertainment, part public health education!
My work has been highly influenced by artists such as Berlinde De Bruyckere, John Isaacs and Patricia Piccinini. I literarily look anywhere for the initial seed of an inspiration but for developing an idea, I use a more structured research and cross-referencing process to place the notion in context of Contemporary Art.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF YOUR ARTWORK – WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACHIEVE?
I am intrigued by the borderline between attraction and repulsion, something that is aesthetically desirable yet revolting at the same time. I am also very fascinated with the psychological aspect of consumerism and its emotional link to ‘Abject’. My work offers models of relational aesthetics that are undesirable at first glance in terms of the ideal tie between desire and the social sphere. The abject quality inhibits our instant desire to touch the soft and malleable surface. The works speak of nature, which reference existentialist moments within the repetitive scenario between power and struggle, consumed and consumer, subject and object, action and reaction in popular culture. Employing external and internal natural forms, the works are critical interpretations of the body as an idea and ideal that entwine uneasily with a personal interest and complex narrative, despite a removal of us from them. Under a contextual framework, it is in these areas where humanity seems to suggest a greater even existential connection to the natural world.
Over the years, I have specialised in working with wax either in the form of sculptures or installations. I create the core of a wax sculpture and build up different layers by painting hot wax on until the piece reaches a translucent skin- or organ like quality.
WHAT KIND OF PERCEPTION DO YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE OF YOUR WORK?
The perception I feel my work should hold is that I dissect moral concepts generated by the media and deeply entrenched assumptions in every individual without reassembling the dissected, separated and ornamented pieces into a new or different whole – thus my work confronts the viewer with his or her own feelings of attraction and repulsion, of power, control and impotence. I play with visions of the future, scenes of surgical fetishes and glamour and unsettle the viewer with images of carefully staged and naturalistic wax reproduction of human organs in form of luxury fetish. The viewer is confronted with contradictions – and in particular – with his or her own taste.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
As we are speaking, I am deconstructing luxury leather designer items into intestine resembling wax sculptures as part of the installation ‘Burdens of Excess’. This is a site-specific installation shown at Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles from the 7th June- 10th August 2013, where I transform the entire gallery space into a chic boutique. I am also working on a large human wax figure for a project called ‘Irreducible Complexity’. Beside that, I create scenic props for advertising or editorials, for example the piece ‘The only way your feeling me is if you are eating me’ forms part of the artwork of the ‘Recoil’ music album.
WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK THIS YEAR?
My next Solo Show ‘Burdens of Excess’ is at Gusford | Los Angeles, I have work in a few smaller group shows and will be showing an installation with Next Level Projects in London at the end of the year and than a Solo Show in January 2014 at Greenham Common/Corn Exchange Newbury, UK.