Yves Scherer is not creating art from materials, mediums or words; rather, the art creates itself through the Swiss born artist. A belief that matter organizes itself, a practice with a touch of pataphysics and a flexible use of materials and mediums. Scherer explores the increasingly blurred interconnected space between the virtual, the physical and the psychological. 2013 saw the 27 year old exhibit solo at Almanac Projects in London and the SSZ-sued in Cologne, as well as group shows at The Grand Palais in Paris and Bloomberg New Contemporaries in London. The future is bright for Scherer who started 2014 showing ‘Coney Island’ at SALTS, Basel, and a highly anticipated degree show at The Royal Collage of Art London, where he has studied a MA in Sculpture.
This is not your latest work, but what is this about?
It’s called “Fructis Hardcore” and it’s basically made out of fake grass and hair products. I’ve done a few others of them, but the piece started when I lived in Berlin, three or four years ago. I was a little bit fucked up and I rented out my apartment to a friend, she was staying in the bedroom and I was staying in the kitchen. I didn’t have a mattress, but I had this fake grass in my studio because I wanted to make a piece with it. I never knew what to do with, so I took it home and slept on it for like two or three months. I also had sex on it, and it’s just a nightmare. It reminded me of lying in the park and when you get up the grass kind of stays where you were lying – or if you put up a tent… I was much more interested in the use of materials, but if you hang it up then it’s kind of this memory piece which I never really liked abut it – that it’s this stored moment. And now I have taken the idea a little bit further. I was talking about the sex thing before, the later ones are a bit more hardcore.
Tell me about your latest stuff, what are you working on now?
I have just finished a show in Switzerland, last week. It was in a garage space and the show is called Coney Island. It’s kind of a domestic environment; the garage is sort of a living place, but also playing on the idea of it being a computer tower. Like living in a computer in a literal sense, or, maybe not really literally, but playing on the idea of us spending all our time on the Internet. In some recent shows I have done these works with fans and foam relations, playing on the feeling you would have if you were inside a computer. I am interested in the physical presence of virtual things. If I get a text message for example, it kind of holds more presence than this coffee cup to me. I have tried to work on this for quite a while already – I used to show Skype images of my girlfriend – just her, on Skype, as a photograph. I was playing with the presence she gets in the exhibition space, because then she is there somehow, even though she’s not, she’s there.
How did you make it? And WHY Emma Watson!?
First of all I think she’s the most Googled person on the planet at the moment and in London she’s everybody’s darling. Everybody grew up with her. The technicians I worked with to make this were so into her, I mean it’s also a sexual thing. Exactly because everybody saw her growing up, everybody has got this weird connection to her. If you Google ‘Emma Watson naked’, or ‘nude’, you get like five million hits. Everybody sticks her head on everything: her giving fifteen blowjobs, anything you could ever imagine, with Emma Watson’s head. I basically just wanted to do the same thing. To put her head on a naked body, but make it more sophisticated. Make it a physical thing – or everybody’s Emma. I wanted to make her in a warm material: it’s much more love in wood than foam or something. In this creepy way you wouldn’t want your Emma in cold foam or plastic, this wood is like flesh: it looks like flesh, it feels like flesh. It lives. She’s 165 cm, that’s actually her size and that was also the limit I could do in one piece.
What’s the necklace?
Well I kind of followed her on Twitter…
Haha, you’re such a stalker!
Well, the garage was kind of meant to be the house of some, maybe not pervy, but some sort of stalker… or it’s playing on the possibility of stalking. Having Emma outside of this machine and in this space, I wanted to make her a present, I guess. She likes hedgehogs, so I made this hedgehog necklace for her. A hedgehog family.
What’s happening in here?
I used to do a lot of Perspex work and I often used them as devices – like how your iPhone or iPad is a device. This second room uses that same idea but as a wall work. It’s a play on this device thing, like you are behind the window to the other world. It is worked on as if it was used and then I’ve written a letter to Emma Watson on it: it’s called “More than distance between us”. The written letter is a physical version of a typed email. The medium of computer text is very limited – if I could send flowers it would say so much more than an emoticon and that’s the handwriting and the flowers stuck to it: it’s playing on this shift between the physical and the virtual again. It is a flexible concept – it could take a million different shapes. This piece is sort of the same as the Skype image of my girlfriend: they are different manifestations of the same idea. What I am interested in is the idea of what you want the work to do in the space. It isn’t really about the text anymore, but a sculpture: I wrote this letter, and things on Perspex boxes previously – it’s just a text at first, and then it can become a physical work. That’s probably the nature of text. What the text represent physically, or what you read out of the text – I don’t really know where my interest actually is. On the boxes in previous shows nobody could really read the text, but it became something different. I really like what it became. But then I also really like the texts.
Can it be both – both print it for it’s physical presence as a sculpture as well as the meaning of what is written? Surely that is a huge advantage in comparison to working with solid materials only. Working with text, it can be so many things?
Maybe it’s not true, but I sometimes think that there’s a best way to do something, that materials speak to you. Maybe it’s silly but I really believe that things know what they can become. If I wanted to make a sculpture out of this glass, this glass is going to tell me rather than me thinking ‘I’m going to make a sculpture out of this glass’.
In a spiritual intuitive way or in a clever brain computer way?
There’s a system which is outside of our brains, which is not controlled by humans – they control themselves. It’s all just matter in the end. Text, as a virtual thing is matter as well: there’s nothing different, if it becomes a physical work as handwriting or a text as a text. They are both matter. A concept is there even if its not ‘there’. Things organize themselves. When you don’t really know what to do with things, you just think ‘this is kind of cool, I’m going to buy this’ and then you take it to the studio and it wanders around and organizes itself. It finds its place. It’s not a divide between virtual and physical anymore: how can you say that spending time with somebody sitting next to you is that much more real than talking on the phone. Of course there’s this physical sensation that goes missing but I guess we have already gone quite far there, I mean even the telephone was quite the while ago. The future is here already, it’s just not very evenly spread. A lot of these concepts that we talk about exist already. I think its more a question about what is normal.
But doesn’t that go against human nature? What about human touch?
Nothing is against human nature, which you can do as a human being. Nutrition going into your stomach through a tube so you don’t have to eat anymore, I think that’s part of evolution too. It’s like a candles: it’s nice to have a candle, but hundreds of years ago people were like ‘oh no we can’t replace the candle!’, and now we have light bulbs. You get used to things. You can’t stop this. My strategy is to embrace it. People that have tried to stop things, tried to control things are always reactionary. A hundred years later it’s always the people that embraced the new that we think are great. Not the people who tried to stop things – we’re not going to talk about them. If you go against the light bulb, well that’s not going to help anyone. Perhaps there’s a need for contracts or laws to stop some things. I don’t think that is stopping the progress, but managing it. But I also think it’s going to sort itself out. Its probably liberal thinking but I do believe that you can’t stop the market, the concept of acceleration and that it will sort itself out. New technology is going to solve the problems older technology created.
“More than distance between us”
the wind of Mt. Fuji
I‘ve brought on my fan!
a gift from Edo
Have you never met a woman who inspires you to love? Until your every sense is flled with her? You inhale her. You taste her. You see your unborn children in her eyes and know that your heart has at last found a home. Your life begins with her, and without her it must surely end. Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions they are tasked to act on them.
Some have accused me of strange design,
Against the creed and morals of this land,
And trace is in this poem every line:
I don‘t pretend that I quite understand
My meaning when I would be very fne;
But the fact is that I had noting planned.
You’ve asked me to stop writing these letters. You’ve told me they will never change things between us. But I feel that a deep problem in perception is that if you want something to improve, you have a tendency to be bothered by the status quo and to think that it’s much worse than it is. And that can be benefcial because you don’t like, say, the level of violence in the world, the level of poverty, the level of — number of kids dying. But if you divorce yourself from the true facts of improvement and look at the exemplars, look at what’s worked — if you get sort of a general despair about is the world improving, then you won’t latch on to those examples. My heart’s in my hand E., and my hand is pierced, and my hand’s in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught.
How can I be depressed when deep down inside I know I am a happiness machine? Nice of you to say, but you of all people should know, there’s plenty wrong with me. I wanted to swallow myself by opening my mouth very wide and turning it over my head so that it would take in my whole body, and then the Universe, until all that would remain of me would be a ball of eaten thing which little by little would be annihilated: that is how I see the end of the world. But Such language is not written down. It is whispered into the ear at night in a hoarse voice. At dawn it is forgotten. But should the voice alter then, should the unwanted appear in the score of the dialogue, or, on the contrary, should a response respond too well to what I thought without having really said it – suddenly this evidence breaks forth. that out there also minute by minute life is being lived: somewhere behind those eyes, behind those gestures, or rather before them, or again about them, coming from I know not what double ground of space, another private world shows through, through the fabric of my own, and for a moment I live in it..
I may be a chauvinist pig of some sort, but I’m no rapist. A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness. Perhaps in many moments of my life the other is for me reduced to this spectacle, which can be a charm. At least my proved world has ceased to be mine only: it is now the instrument which another plays, the dimension of a generalized life which is grafed onto my own. But if we can only live once, then let it be a daring adventure that draws on all our powers. Let it be with similar types whos hearts and heads we may be proud of. Let our grandchildren delight to fnd the start of our stories in their ears but the endings all around in their wandering eyes. The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering.