Zurich-based artist Patric Sandri creates gorgeous paintings which play on interactions of architecture, light, and the surface of the works themselves, which are semi-transparent and respond to their surroundings. They are stunning in their apparent simplicity, yet become more complex as their situations influence them and the subtleties of their compositions are revealed.
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Hello Patric! Tell me about yourself! You're based in Zurich and earned your MA in London at RCA.. what first interested you in art? What about painting specifically?
My Name is Patric Sandri and my work investigates the medium of painting and the perception of its properties. My focus is on the awareness of the ‘gaze’ and the aspect of looking, whether it is by the artist, or the viewer. This extends into how light and material can interfere and interrupt the gaze and result in a phenomenological response, such as perception, affect and illusion. I am trying to find room for perceptual inconsistency to be included in the phenomenon of painting. Using the mistakes of perceptual apprehension has become more and more important in the way I generates ideas and works.
During the process of painting I question the role of the ‚image’. The function of a three-dimensional object and its carrier is explored, often deconstructed and put into a new order again. The pictorial plane is treated as a zone of impact and reaction, the body of the image carrier as an autonomous sculpture. The primary colours applied on the wood constructions mis with each other, shimmer, reflect and radiate through transparent fabrics onto their background. What seems painted is a visual irritation or what we observe as an illusion. So the light completes the paintings and is also thematized by these image back sides, the sides of the canvas and the stretcher bars which are painted. The colours reflect and radiate on the background which is dipped in colored light. The front and the backsides of the canvas are equally important and I also create illusions about these.
I was not really interested in art when I was young or a kid. I mean I was fascinated by art but it was not the thing I knew I want to become or doing as a profession. I was more interested in the stars, planets and the sky, also visual phenomena but not generally art. But maybe that is something which is still part of the works I am doing as an artist. I am really interested in the perception of things, kind of visual enigmas. Painting always fascinated me. It is like a projection of something not really explainable. I think there is often nothing to explain in a painting. It speaks for itself and I am very intrigued by that.
Do you have any particularly significant influences? Any mentors who had an influence on your work?
My main influence is art history and the artists working between installation and painting with a minimal approach. For example Robert Irwin, Ellsworth Kelly, Imi Knoebel, Daniel Buren, but also Donald Judd and Dan Flavin.
What is your process like?
My works are based on ideas. In painting I am interested in the canvas on the stretcher frame, the object itself. Or the canvas as an architectural element. When I start making a work, the first step is the analysis of this object, which has a sculptural character, displays various norms or qualities, depths and interfaces. Hence, I give these often neglected components of painting a meaning. I am trying to find corresponding personal systems and visualisations. All the works and ideas will be developed as sketches on paper or in sketchbooks and I try to distill these until I think the idea is creating a dialogue with the surroundings, the space. So I try to work more or less site-specific and like to create a series of works for each exhibition. I would also say in terms of process that one painting leads to the next one. It is more a thoughtful process than a process with coincidence. The work is finished when it is stretched and installed on the wall. Then I see if it is good or not. All the works need the wall because of the reflection of the colours.
Your work stands out to me for the lightness and brightness of your palette, which is minimal and yet can take almost infinite forms in painting, sculpture, or installation. What do you like most about your medium(s) of choice, and your color palette?
I think that even when there is a very limited palette, these can take almost infinite forms in painting, sculpture, or installation. That is also what I am interested in: to find some personal answers, responses, or solutions for the questions, "When is a painting a painting? When is a painting a sculpture? And when is a sculpture a painting?" I realized that my paintings stretch them out into the space more and more. I want to take the parameters of painting (Canvas, paint and stretchers) and play with these.
You have exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions; is there anything that you have learned along the way about working with a gallery or preparing a show in one that you would share with someone who finds this a daunting task for the first time?
I think it is important to plan everything well and also to communicate everything with the people you work with, like the gallery owner or other artists you plan to exhibit with. For example, share ideas and works in progress and discuss everything very clearly to avoid misunderstandings. That is the most important I think.
What is the best advice you've ever been given?
It always changes. One which comes to mind: "Be patient."
What is your studio like?
I share a big studio with other artists. With big walls and light from the roof (skylight). These are the perfect conditions for me. We have the studio in an industrial building. I have about 25 square meters working space, and some space to storage the works.
What do you need most as an artist?
Time and space.
What do you find to be the most fulfilling or rewarding aspect of doing what you do?
I enjoy creating a little personal universe and developing something which I can consider as mine. I like when I discover a smile or a question mark on people's faces as they look at my work.
Find more at patricsandri.com!
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