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December 5, 2020

Walter Wetter - A multidisciplinary artist

Walter Wetter - A multidisciplinary artist

I got to meet Mr. Wetter through his art, when I stepped into one of his exhibitions which was hosted in the Trace Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland. What attracted me to his installations was the fact that he used a variety of materials and techniques, immediately radiating the idea that there is a great imagination and mastery behind all this. While observing his art, the eye of the visitor feasts on details and the mind immediately starts drifting away in other places and times, romantic even darker ones.

Some years later, I contacted him, and he was more than kind enough to give me the following interview, which definitely gives insight into his talent and the things that inspire him.  

Dear Mr. Wetter, please tell us some things about yourself and what you do

My parents had a bigger toystore in the canton of Thurgau where I grew up, nothing better can happen to a child! This gave me all kinds of opportunities to discover and try out new toys. This caused an enormous boost of fantasy. There were so many different toys that one was fascinated by and one could keep dreaming. This certainly influenced me a lot. Of course there were other influences later on, which then became apparent in art. Music is definitely one of them, in the 80's I played as a DJ in Zurich and Basel in well known New Wave/Gothic Clubs, this certainly influenced my current artistic expression, but also my way of thinking. Because at that time this music was really subversive and still "underground" and one also carried an attitude to oneself, in the sense of "fuck off" just not being mainstream. So I looked for a profession that had something to do with music or sound. So I ended up as a sound operator at the Swiss Television SRF and I am still 80% employed there in the post production department as "Senior Audio Editor". The rest of the time I spend on making art. That means developing light objects, creating art installations, exchanging artist-trading-cards, developing assemblages and collages, visiting flea markets (worldwide) and scrap yards.

Assemblage

You are working with various materials, amongst other things you are using metal elements, industrial and electronic scrap, laboratory, medical and pharmaceutical items. By combining them with high-tech components you create new sculptures and give them a totally new meaning, a new purpose. Is it a statement that nothing really dies, it only waits to be a part of something else and live forever?

For a long time I was a frequent visitor to an industrial scrap yard in Zurich, you got a visitor's pass there and then you could enter the site, which was as big as two football fields. Unbelievable what there was to discover there! But also unbelievable what was thrown away! Of course a lot of things will be recycled. For example, there were mountains of computer boards several meters high, computer screens still wrapped, several containers with various types of metal parts, airplane parts, engine parts and everything meters high. For me it was a paradise! Since I am more of a visual person, I chose the most beautiful shapes and metal parts to use for sculptures, light objects or installations. But these forms and metal parts also had an original function, as something, perhaps still recognizable, I now tear them out of their context and use them in a new way, for example for a light object and thereby give them a new life, a new function. I am more concerned with this misappropriation.

Assemblage

What are your selection criteria before obtaining an object for your sculptures and your creations in general? What "guides" you to buy something from the flea market or search amongst ruins / old stuff till you find what you need? Do you have a concept in mind and then try to find the necessary pieces, like constructing an imaginary puzzle in a way?

I take a more emotional approach when I see or search for something. The object must radiate something, must appeal to me, this can be an old portrait photo, a metal form, an antique picture frame, an old radio etc. All this is collected in my studio and results in a larger pool from which I can choose for a future work of art. Accordingly, my studio looks more like a warehouse, with its own workspace, of course.

Lesilo

In many creations of yours, you focus on the human eye, making it stand out from the rest of the human body. Is there a symbolism behind this choice?

Not really. I am fascinated by old medical books in which the body is visualized in an ancient way. In general, I am interested in many antique medical things. At that time one had a different medical knowledge about the body or a therapy, also partly a wrong one. Through this one discovers that human knowledge was never free of errors. Eyes are of course a strong means of expression, one sees into the soul, so to speak, into the soul of the work of art. 

Are you working on anything new at this time? Any exhibitions on the way?

At the moment I am mostly busy with my assemblages / collages. They consist of antique picture frames, equipped for example with antique photos, old jewelry, emblems, antique medicine books, body supplements, but also with graphics froma strology / astronomy / space / laboratory science / alchemy / medicine etc. I put this into context as a kind of collage, so that when you look at the assemblage you start to think about what it is all about, a kind of "lynchesque" story. My next exhibition will take place in Frauenfeld/Thurgau, October 23,2020, together with the Kunstthurgau Group (https://www.kunstthurgau.ch/ausstellungen/knochen/)

Lichtobjekt

If you were to make a structure representing Hope, which material would you use? And why?

Hmm....it would not be the material I would choose to present "Hope", but the choice would be in the emotion of me towards the material. 

What is your motto? What keeps you going?

I don't really have a concrete motto. But the world, the universe is something so fascinating, complex, still inscrutable, it is worth to continue to question.

Trace Gallery Zurich

Anything you would like to add?

I think a part of my art practice belongs to the direction of"Outsider Art", maybe even to "Lowbrow Art", which is quite popular in the USA at the moment.

Maybe my websites for those interested in art:

www.darkstarproduction.ch

www.lesilo.ch

https://www.artist-trading-cards.ch/atc-travel-archive/walter-wetter-aka-voodoo/  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/walterwetter_industrialart/?hl=de

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/walterwetterindustrialart

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