Swiss artist Claudia Comte's large-scale sculptures and installations are playful explorations of material history and memory.Read More
Claudia Comte was born in 1983 in Morges, Switzerland. She completed her BA in Visual Arts at the Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne in 2007 and later received her MA in Science of Education at the Haute Ecole Pédagogique, Visual Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland in 2010.
Comte is an interdisciplinary artist who often integrates different media into her works. She has previously combined sculptures and installations with paintings to orchestrate displays and environments that work in dialogue with each other. Comte's central interest revolves around the hand's relationship with different materials and their histories.
Comte's work is acutely aware of the lineage and providence of different objects. She thinks through how each material holds memories and knowledge of the surrounding environment. She has previously written about the way in which wood as a material 'remembers' the climate conditions of the planet. Her work honours these non-human forms of knowledge and histories through an intimate and careful study of the object's materiality.
Comte has extensively worked with wood as a material. In her earlier works, she used a chainsaw to carve logs into curvilinear and zigzagging shapes. This material is often sourced from areas near her hometown, only using wood from trees that have already been felled.
Her engagement with this material can be seen in her installation Many Kinds of Suspense Pictures (2012), where she arranged ten blowtorched pine tree trunks in Kunsthaus Glarus against a geometric and abstract wall painting.
In another work NO MELON NO LEMON (2015), Comte sculpted wooden pieces that visually mimic palindromes. These sculptures, which included organic shapes and more angular pieces, are complemented by plinths and walls decorated with perfectly executed and dizzying vertical lines.
In the past few years, Comte has expanded her interest in materiality into an engagement with marble. Through these works, she thinks through marble's relationship with water and the ocean.
Her exhibition The Sea of Darkness (2020), held at the Kunstraum Dornbirn, explored this material through the lens of the environment and climate crisis. In this work, Comte installed text referencing the sea on the gallery's ceiling in an undulating and intensifying formation as viewers are met with several plinths supporting soda cans carved out of marble.
Comte is also known for her public interventions. IN NATURE NOTHING EXISTS ALONE (2022) spells out this evocative phrase taken from American biologist and scientist, Rachel Carson. This massive installation spans over a hundred metres and is constructed with pine logs sourced from Monte Amiata, lower Tuscany.
Another public intervention Five Marble Leaves (2022) is an arrangement of marble sculptures in leaf-like shapes at the Central Wharf Park in Boston, U.S. Accompanying these sculptures are small marble plaques inscribed with fragments of quotes from influential environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg, Jane Goodall, and David Attenborough.
Claudia Comte has been widely exhibited internationally. She has held solo exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum, Luzern; Kunstraum Dornbirn, Austria; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; Belgrade Biennale; and Kunsthalle Basel. Her work has been collected by major institutions such as the MoMA; Nationale Suisse Art Collection; and the Credit Suisse Collection.
Arianna Mercado | Ocula | 2023