HUMO Gallery

Peter Baracchi (*1982 in Zurich) studied photography at Zurich University of the Arts. Ever since, he has been working with topics and phenomena that emerge from our modern society and which shape and influence our everyday life. Baracchi began as a photographer but has soon after started to work with all kinds of materials and media. This is why his recent artworks and exhibitions are currently getting more and more sculptural and installative.

Moving and light, yet massive and rigid

Baracchi’s work «Reflecting Light Rays Off A Rough Surface» (2016) consists fifteen white-grayish square surfaces mounted in a rectangular grid on the wall. Gusts, waves or bumps have apparently acted on the plain cloths and are frozen there in the form of irregular folds. In the face of the deformed image areas, some may remember the 1960s and the “stepping out of the picture” when the canvas was maltreated to demonstrate their objectivity. But Peter Baracchi's new works are by no means imprisoned in an earlier, art-immanent discourse; they are rather completely settled in the here and now and reflect current social phenomena.

"Reflecting Light Rays Off A Rough Surface" is not about canvases. The starting material of the objects was, a textile-cement fabric used in mining called “Concrete Canvas”. This cloth-like and initially flexible material can be adjusted to a specific surface under the influence of water, before it hardens true to form in the drying process. On the other hand, the glaciers of the Swiss Alps were instrumental in the production process of Baracchi's new series.

For some years now, the allegedly eternal ice masses in Europe have been covered with special fleeces in order to temporarily and locally protect them from melting away. It goes without saying that such symptom control cannot solve the real problem - and that it is used primarily in tourist regions. The makeshift “rescue measures”, to which something tragicomic clings, has mimicked Baracchi in his new series of works in a small format and thus led to absurdity.

Equipped with handy rolls of said cement textile, the artist has climbed the glacier, where he performed a quiet performance amidst the theatrical backdrop of the fleece-covered ice: He has laid his mats in selected places, soaked them with glacier water, and so they the relief of Ice layer nestled. After 24 hours, the light irradiation of the high-altitude sun had finished modeling the “rough surfaces”, the cut-out impressions of the glacier were hardened and could be harvested. Now they are hanging as mysteriously dynamized objects in space, as "snapshots" of a snow melted ice sculpture and as a reference to a form of “problem solving”, which seems almost exemplary for the Western consumer society.

Baracchi’s works are part of numerous collections. Peter lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland.

Sources: art.peterbaracchi.com, Deborah Keller