top of page

Perfection in Imperfection - Hans Aeschbach, Walter Binder, Louis Conne and Otto Teucher

Yujin Kim

This exhibition is conceived as an introduction to a group of artists who taught on the ‘Vorkurs’ (basic training) programme at the Kunstgewerbe school in Zurich at the beginning of the 1960s, centred around painter Hans Aeschbach (1911-1999). Preoccupied by the relationship between art and nature, and committed to ways of working in harmony with the environment rather than estranged geometry, each of these artists developed their own distinctive modes of abstraction rooted in the natural world. While their works focus on the regularity and structural order of organic forms, these are understood in their full complexity rather than a reductive idealism; the infinite difference and repetition of biological matter inspiring aesthetic strategies which embraced imperfection and deviation as essential elements of the creative process.


Drawing an analogy between principles of pictorial construction and biological phenomena is likewise key to ​the organic, amorphous abstraction of Walter Binder (1909-1968) - the merged surfaces of his oil paintings capturing a tension between the order and irregularity of repetitive procedures such as mirroring, rotating, crossing and shifting - all reminiscent of the organic processes of growth and reproduction.


The sculptur Louis Conne (1905-2004), who taught "modeling" at the KGSZ from 1946 to 1971, also played an important role in the development of an organic abstraction as a member of the Abstraction-Création group in Paris (1931-34) alongside artists such as Hans Arp and Barbara Hepworth. Like his well-known Metamorphoses series from the 1960s, Conne’s iron sculpture "Movement in Space" (1968) can be read as an expression of physical growth, in its disfigured assemblage of limbs or branches; the contorted structure, welded together from rectangular iron plates and rods, building a dynamic, yet tortured movement through abrupt changes of direction. Geometric norms are also subverted in Otto Teucher's (1899-1994) ambiguous stone sculptures which oscillate between idealised cubic forms and organic rock formations depending on the angle and facet of view. Through subtle combinations of angle and curve, large and small, flat and spatial, his works remind us that the conditions under which a work is seen exert profound influence over the meanings we invest in abstract forms, and whilecontrast is fundamental to human perception, it can equally lead us astray. 

bottom of page