27 x 35 cm
Oil on canvas
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
The art of Francisco Sierra (born 1977 in Santiago, Chile) reflects an unbelievable wealth of absurd ideas, while oscillating between the possibilities of photorealistic painting, the intrinsic logic of surrealist pictorial solutions, and the limits of good taste. Perhaps the artist, who was born in Chile and lives in Switzerland, masters this so naturally because he is a self-taught painter who has acquired his skills without the influence of academic art education. Sierra was raised in a family of art lovers. His father is a Chilean professor of chemistry, and his mother is a Swiss-Hungarian teacher. From the time he was little, he painted and played the violin. He moved to Switzerland in 1986, and after graduating from school, he began studying music in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and Utrecht, Netherlands. However, soon after receiving his degree as a concert violinist in 2003, he quit his musical career to focus entirely on painting. He quickly became a successful artist and was awarded the Kiefer Hablitzel Prize in 2006, the Swiss Art Award in 2007, and the Manor Art Prize St. Gallen in 2013. Sierra’s sometimes frivolous pictures are perfectly painted in the style of the old masters. The idiosyncrasy of these works, which cannot be pigeonholed, can be surprising. Bizarre still lifes alternate with comic-style figures and abstract forms; and frequently, the motifs are appealing and repulsive at the same time. With his sly humor, the artist fascinates us with a permanent balancing act between hyperrealism and fantastic elements, high and low, pathos and triviality.
Sierra usually paints objects from real life, and some models are obviously self-made pottery. On occasion, everyday episodes also inspire his works – as with the painting “Bauhaus Porn” from 2020, which is part of the collection of Museum Haus Konstruktiv. The painting represents the artist’s jocular and clear response to a friend’s question of whether Sierra’s work would become more abstract after the artist became part of the program of the Galerie von Bartha in Basel, which primarily focuses on geometric, non-representational art, in the summer of 2020. The work is an example of how Sierra continues to question the dogmas of art history and popular culture in his paintings by brazenly undermining them with his tongue in his cheek.