INTERVIEW WITH SCULPTOR & CONCEPTUAL ARTIST FABIAN BÜRGY
I had the opportunity to interview Swiss conceptual artist and sculptor Fabian Bürgy, who is currently in residence in Berlin. The interview challenged some of my notions of what art means to a contemporary society, and my pointed questions met impacting answers. Conceptual work has never been so convincing or tangible. Check out the interview below and more of his work at the bottom.
You describe your work as playful, yet there are few artists who create more impacting and violent works. What is it about these symbols and images that you find to be playful?
I describe my work as playful – but also as a “slightly violent and disturbing process of transformation, misplacement and dysfunction of things”. I have the mental freedom to do what I like and what I am interested in - that gives me the liberty to playfully conceive artistic ideas without pressure. As a result I create sometimes funny and sometimes rather aggressive artworks.
My goal is to give birth to my ideas and to create solid, unseen and therefore honest and hopefully relevant contemporary art.
You began your career as a sculptor before moving into this place where you now produce images graphically or create within the spectrum of new media; how long did you sculpt before finding these methods, and why the transition?
In 1995 I started sculpting professional and did it for 8 years. Although fascinated by stone and plaster, I somehow always felt that there was too much limitation in the medium. There’s no motion, no 4th dimension and plenty of physical constraints – given facts, which unfortunately inhibit the range of contemporary creative expression. Stone is eternal though, something unusual in our contemporary world and a fascinating characteristic.
So I moved towards digital media, imaging and graphics about 12 years ago. Opposite to sculpting, the new technologies offer an amazing potential when it comes to creating ideas and visualizing them. On the other hand, the medium also lacks in some aspects - mostly because of the endless possibilities.
How long did it take for me to find the method? I would say it took me all my life! I never perceived my path (from sculpting towards digital art and back again) as a transition onto something else. I am placing my work and myself exactly in between. It’s the coupling of my different experiences that creates the momentum.
Your digital previews and post productions are impeccably well-made, with the obvious benefit that you can pump out much work within a similar theme and in a similar amount of time, but it is so well-done that it’s hard to tell what has really been created and what hasn’t. At fabianbuergy.com, for example, how much of the work is tangible?
It has all been created! The idea of my work is to question given situations by provoking seamless shifts between real and unreal using the liberty to use whatever medium is appropriate – this allows me to lift the reality off the rails. In my opinion, this is the best approach to my work, conceptually. True contemporary art has to reflect periodic phenomenon’s and should never be afraid to use the technical tools of its time. By combining the entire range of the historical tools of artistic expression, from sculpting to digital art, I am enabling myself to work without any technical constraints. And due to my skills I manage to create it almost entirely by myself.
For some years now, the distinction between virtual and real is fading massively anyway - and this throughout all aspects of society, technology and communication. Would you say the Internet does not exist because it’s not tangible? Or a printed text is not real because you only feel the paper when you touch it? This is really my point and this is where art has an important role in my understanding.
I say: It basically doesn’t matter anymore if something is created physically. The primary condition is that an idea is good and honest. In my case the artistic ideas often work equally well on paper and as a real installation or sculpture. Each implementation has its advantages.
Catch Part II here.
Visit fabianbuergy.com for more information.