Known for her ongoing focus on the relationship between the body and architectural space, the late Heidi Bucker is being commemorated with an exhibition at the Swiss Institute. The exhibition, running through May 11th at the gallery’s SoHo space, stands out being the first solo exhibition of the artist in the United States in more than forty years.
Heidi Bucher, Untitled (9 Objects), (1972-1987), Courtesy Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, ZürichStarting her career as a textile artist in Zurich, Bucher later started to make sculptural objects exploring issues such as femininity, domestic space and physicality. Placing the human body in the center of her discussion, Bucher created her most well-known artworks using latex molds in the 70’s. Titled Herrenzimmer, the first work from the series that Bucher would ultimately call the Raumhaut (room skin) series, is a molded replica of her parents’ bedroom at their Winterthur house. The dreary atmosphere of the bedroom, charged with a range of family memories, is reflected in Bucher’s works through her use of pallid colors and drooping, surreal recreation of space. Hung from the ceiling at the Swiss Institute’s main gallery, the gigantic sculpture raises feelings of isolation, ephemerality and nostalgia, along with untold stories and forgotten memories of the artist’s family.
Jetzt fliesst das Wasser aus der Vase, another sculptural work, underlines the artist’s interest in fluidity, movement and nature, and presents a notable diversity in the content of the exhibition with its lighter, more humorous aspect. Covering a another massive piece of the wall in the main gallery is Parquet floor of study in Winterthur-Wüfligen, the artist’s recreation of her family house’s floors in tile-like latex sections. She strengths the nostalgic atmosphere of the piece by incorporating a large trunk, in which these sections can be stored and transported.
On a different note, the exhibition also includes Grande Albergo Brissago, a colossal replica of the main entrance to the Swiss hotel of the same name in Brissago, Switzerland. Combining different materials such as PVAC glue, textile and gouache and her signature latex, the artist recasts an important icon of Swiss neutrality, a safe space where many of Europe’s intellectual class waited out World War II in peace.
Combining personal and Swiss history with her unique material concerns, Bucher’s retrospective is a strong introduction to the artist’s work, and is on view at Swiss Institute through May 11th, 2014.