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Reto Boller

S-05.7, 2005
Acrylic and silicone on wood and aluminium
150 x 200 x 4 cm

© Artist

Photo: Gerhard Sauer

The simple construction of this work by Reto Boller in four layers has something curiously unintended and home-made about it. It is as if each successive layer was simply the attempt to correct the last with the – somewhat inadequate – materials that were at hand, to attempt rather unwittingly to give it the look of being intentional only to produce further incongruities. Until that is the artist reached the point where he threw in the towel and sent the work out of his studio as finished as it was. Some day or other people will come to terms with this rather reckless mixture of colours and fit it all into their aesthetic scheme. And so the piece is also an exemplary demonstration of how the artistic process works, because creating art has always been a zigzag between the aim and the actual result, between order and its destruction, acuity and imponderability, control and its loss.

This is shown by Reto Boller as a representative of the new generation of non-objective artists who, in the wake of Neo Geo, have breathed new life into Geometrical Abstraction by abandoning the carefully circumscribed path of their parents’ generation with its almost fetishist love of precision. Not only have they introduced new materials such as rubber, adhesive tape and rubbish, but also developed an open if not audacious and sloppy approach to them. The home-made, improvised and non-conformist aspect can be found throughout this genre, as for instance when Boller presses branches into rubber hoses, saws out metal panels in a rough and ready way, or casts knotty forms in iron and paints them with damp glistening lacquer. The result is always astonishing, and not simply as regards the daring with which things are combined, but also in its aesthetically provocative character, which injects an immediate sense of fun into a violet patch of rubber on two geometrical panels with a red stripe.


Reto Boller

1966 born in Zurich
Lives and works in Stuttgart