Until January 2022, the Laleh June Gallery in Basel is showing sculptures and drawings by Swiss artist Andrea Ehrat. Andrea Ehrat first gained public attention for her artistic work with her experimental film “Rub through” from 1993 and the following film “Kirschenmund” from 1998. During her recurring stay in Marseille, she became more and more involved in drawing. The limitations of two-dimensionality and the desire for a deeper exploration of forms and materiality led her to take the step towards sculpture. So she began to experiment with plaster. Andrea Ehrat was born in 1971 in Zurich. She lives and works in Zurich.
Andrea Ehrat: Une Certaine Sensualité. Solo exhibition at Laleh June Gallery, Basel. Basel (Switzerland), December 16, 2021.
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After training as a three-dimensional designer and stage designer, Andrea Ehrat studied film at the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK. Content, depth as well as the expressiveness of works have always been a central concern for her, so she has always sought her own signature in all these disciplines. In addition, she was engaged in drawing, painting and photography. She first gained public attention for her artistic work with her experimental film “Rub through” from 1993 and the following film “Kirschenmund” from 1998, with which she was invited to various festivals at home and abroad. In 1999 her experimental film “Rub through” was selected for the best experimental films and art videos of the 1990s in Switzerland (1999 Quer/Schnitt, CH-Video 90s). Already during this time Andrea Ehrat was concerned with the thematic fields of ambivalence and emotional turmoil as well as with the search for the small shifts within the known.
Already in “Kirschenmund” fragmented texts took up an important space. The artist continued this in her subsequent video installations and again experimented with text, but text walls and text fragments on various substrates were also given a significant role. With the video installation “mou-voir” from 2002 and the photographic work “abnorm” from 2006, themes of corporeality became even more central to her interests, which she continues to reinterpret today – whether surreal or abstract. During her recurring stay in Marseille, she became more and more involved in drawing. The limitations of two-dimensionality and the desire for a deeper exploration of forms and materiality led her to take the step towards sculpture. So she began to experiment with plaster, the ideal material for her, since she can leave these works in this raw material or have them cast in metal in a second working process.
Many of her sculptures show parts of the human body, which she reduces in different ways, virtually “maltreats” them. She then reassembles the resulting fragments to find, in turn, divergent forms. The surface of the material is finely ground to bring out the curves and surfaces more clearly and to emphasize impressions of vulnerability or even images of inner turmoil by means of the material.
Wax models (usually approx. 1:10) serve as models for the sculptures, which are central to Andrea Ehrat’s working method, as she can model these small models well enclosed in her hands. She can shape them and discard them – in order to immediately reshape them again. Thus it is an ongoing and searching process between flashing imagination, shaping and discarding until the “final” form is found. A search that she then continues in plaster.
The wax models are usually preceded by pencil and ink drawings. These are created intuitively and are an important and everyday part of her work. She reproduces individual drawings with ink on glass or also ink on fabric, which she additionally works on with embroidery.
The artist gets her inspiration from texts, whether philosophical or literary, but also from inner images, which she develops further. And likewise it is individual moments from everyday life, which she takes up and continues to spin.
In her artistic work, she always arrives at the same starting point: it is the small shifts that interest her and that allow new images to be associated. In the fragmentary abstract, yet very physically sensual forms, she seeks something unshakable that is timeless and immediate. Her work should stimulate the intellect as well as the sensual, this is of great importance to her.
Andrea Ehrat was born in 1971 in Zurich, and lives and works in Zurich.