Esther Stocker

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/67799-esther-stocker

Alberta Pane Gallery is pleased to present Kissing Squares, a solo exhibition by Esther Stocker in its
Venetian venue. In conversation with the gallerist, the artist talks about her work and its evolution, she
reflects on the concept of artistic responsibility and provides comments on the works in the exhibition:
paintings and sculptures of different sizes, white, black and grey, linear and square elements are the
ingredients through which Esther Stocker will turn the gallery space into an enveloping, “anarchic” and
perceptively stimulating environment.

Alberta Pane: Dear Esther, we first met in Vienna in 2010 thanks to Paola Valenti, a dear friend and art
historian, who introduced us. I still remember the first time I saw your studio and your work: a white,
black and grey universe of lines; however, you told me that at the beginning you used to do figurative
paintings. Can you tell me more about it?

Esther Stocker: Yes, that is true! The painting practice I am developing now stems, on the one hand,
from expressive painting and, on the other, from portraits of people I used to do at the beginning of my
career. This is an element that I still find important, in particular I am interested in the act of looking
carefully at the other, and understanding myself through him. The topics I explore, these formal
paradoxes, are very much related to the identity issue. The subject of the portrait is connected to that of
figure-background, which is also related to the use of black and white; these elements constitute a
“perceptive group”, not only from a formal point of view. The development of my work into abstraction is
linked to an existential theme. To me it is important to make the audience understand that this is not a
‘form for form’s sake’: form has a social and existential dimension within it.

AP: The first solo exhibition you presented at the Paris gallery, entitled ‘Dirty Geometry’, was ten years
ago, in 2011: an installation of broken lines filled almost the entire gallery space. How has your work
evolved since then?

ES: My work is still linked to the concept of “dirty geometry” that is at the core of my practice, which is
made up of irrational systems in an almost rational system. These paradoxes and contradictions are
therefore always at the heart of my work. A development has occurred; in fact, it is only in recent years
that I have begun to make sculpture. In the exhibition in Venice I will present a large sculpture in the main
exhibition space of the gallery and a series of different sizes in the access corridor.
While Dirty Geometry showed paintings and a linear installation, Kissing Squares will focus mainly on
paintings and sculptures.
In the last ten years I have also started something different: I have established new collaborations and
created objects that are close to design. I have done mobile sculptures, experiments and collaborations
with the fashion world.

AP: Tell us about your solo exhibition at the gallery in Venice.

ES: Kissing Squares focuses on painting. Even though I always use black and white and a system very
similar to the one I employed before, I hope I have been able to develop my work in comparison to what I
have done in the past. Perhaps, the title of the exhibition already partly explains the way I use squares in
my paintings. In these, however, there is more freedom than there used to be; there is still the grid, but
you can’t really see it. These are paintings that relate more to a galactic-cosmological topic, in dialogue
with geometry. In the exhibition there will also be sculptures and a video that will refer to sculptures that
can be conceived as fashion.

AP: You have somewhat anticipated my question in your previous answers. I would like to ask you about
the several collaborations you have been carrying out with the fashion world for a few years now: why
are you attracted by it and how do you find it inspiring?

ES: In a way, I find this world inspiring precisely because I don’t belong to it. I come from an opposite,
almost anti-fashion world. I have always been interested in philosophical and formal concepts and not in
developing an aesthetic “sense. I myself, for a long time, did not have much interest in fashion and
design. Over the years, however, I realized that these universes are all linked to that of art. The Russian
Avant-garde and the Bauhaus had created these connections, thinking in a more universal way, and this
is where I feel, in some way, the roots of my artistic practice lie.
In German there is this word – which is difficult to translate exactly – Gestalt or the verb gestalten,
meaning shape or to design an object. Gestalttheorie, the theory of perception, is something I am very
close to in my work. Moreover, I like experimenting!
Another element that I think is important to stress is the artistic responsibility. Doctors have to sign a
code of responsibility, an almost ethical code, in which they commit themselves, given their skills, to
helping people. I think this is something right and applies to all talents: there is a responsibility for artists
too. Fashion is not a field I know very well, but I think we artists have a duty for imagination, for fantasy,
for ideas that are a bit more ‘risky’. Perfect designs and furniture already exist. I think these ‘risky’ ideas
are part of our responsibility and also our artistic necessity. When we feel ready, it is right to experiment
with new ideas and try to establish a discourse and dialogue in a broader sense. My interest in fashion
and design is not related to something tangible, but rather to visionary ideas that I think are part of the
artistic responsibility.

AP: What is your view of the contemporary artist?

ES: Perhaps I have already partially answered talking about the artistic responsibility. This is part of my
vision of being an artist. I don’t think that every artist has to deal with fashion. For me, the meaning of
being and behaving as an artist, not only today, but always, is to represent a great freedom, also by
taking risks somehow. In my opinion , art should be connected to life, but it should not teach people. The
heart of art is more anarchic, it must always be a road open towards many directions and remain a field
of freedom.

AP: What do you expect from this exhibition and what are your future plans?

ES: In this exhibition my goal is to share my ideas with the public and in so doing to establish and expand
a dialogue, not only with myself, but with others. My future projects are other exhibitions with paintings
and sculptures, but I cannot specify too much yet!

Esther Stocker (IT, 1974) Renowned worldwide for her paintings, sculptures and large-scale installations characterised by an abstract,
geometric style and the use of a palette limited to black, white and grey, Esther Stocker focuses her research
on vision and on the perception of space, through an existential and social approach.
“In my paintings, sculptures and installations I try to describe the ambiguity and uncertainty of the system. I
use the precision of a system to investigate the system itself. I try to release and abandon our ways of seeing
and understanding that are associated with the recognition of forms and that distinguish us from each other,
sometimes unconsciously.”

Esther Stocker studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, the Brera Academy of Fine Arts (Milan) and the
Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She regularly exhibits in international museums,
foundations and galleries. Her work has been shown in venues and events such as Changwon Sculpture
Biennale (South Korea) Museum Haus Konstruktiv (Zurich), Museo Vasarely (Budapest), Museo
Gegenstandsfreier Kunst (Otterndorf, Germany), LA BF15 (Lyon), Setouchi Triennale (Japan), Kunsthalle
Bratislava, Italian Embassy in Vienna, MACRO (Rome), Museum Ritter (Waldenbuch, Germany), Georg Kolbe
Museum (Berlin), Künstlerhaus Hannover, CCNOA – Center for Contemporary Non-Objective Art (Brussels),
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (Vienna), Sharjah Art Museum (United Arab Emirates), just to
mention a few.

Recent collaborations with the world of design and fashion include those with Flora Miranda for Cyber Crack
2020, a runway show held during Paris Fashion Week (2020), with BMW Japan for the Setouchi Triennale
(2019), with Eider for the 2018/19 winter collection, with Kohlmaier Wien for the International Contemporary
Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York and with Iris van Herpen in Milan (in 2018).
In 2020 she won the Aurélie Nemours prize.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/67799-esther-stocker