28 x 36 x 25 cm
CN-steel (stainless steel)
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Peter Hächler (born 1922 in Lenzburg, Switzerland, where he died in 1999) is considered one of Switzerland’s most important sculptors. His three-dimensional “organisms” are based on his autonomous vocabulary of forms and communicate with the architectural space around them. While these are rationally designed and are usually industrially produced in countless variations, they also show a high level of perfection and possess an experimental and playful quality. This latter aspect also distinguishes them from the works of other artists who take a strictly Constructivist approach.
Hächler’s fascination with the interaction between art and architecture began in 1945 in Geneva, where he studied architecture for a year before undergoing training as a sculptor at the École des beaux-arts. Further years of study brought the artist to Paris to Germaine Richier’s studio, where he learned to analyze forms using models. This not only influenced his early figurative works in the 1950s, but it also sharpened his sense for geometric structures for the rest of his life. While his earliest works depicted figurative motifs, like birds and harlequins, Hächler soon began to work more abstractly. From 1969 on, his works were concrete, constructivist and stereometric configurations. As in Minimal Art, the main body of his work is dominated by elements of the same form, like the slanted cube, the rhomboid, and the torsion body. Sometimes the artist focused on individual hollow cubes; other times he combined the same basic form in different sizes or in irregular variations, letting the structures resemble the building blocks of organic matter in chemistry. Despite any resemblance, however, these were entirely new creations of his own making. Once such example is “Duo II,” a later work made of steel in the Museum Haus Konstruktiv’s collection. Despite the material’s heaviness, the sculpture appears almost weightless.
Works that are specific to a particular site or architecture play a key role in Hächler’s oeuvre. His approach can be found in many plaza designs in front of schools, community buildings, or banks, especially in the canton of Aargau. In these interventions, he either integrates and repeats the structures and forms of the surrounding buildings, or he sets up a contrast by creating new arrangements of forms. Through these articulations, we can experience our surroundings in a new way. Peter Hächler was also widely known for his involvement in cultural policy: he was the president of the GSMBA (Society of Swiss Painters and Sculptors) and a member of several other cultural committees. Thanks to his unique formal idiom, he left an important and lasting mark on public space.