30 x 30 x 6 cm
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Welti-Furrer AG
Komplementär-Struktur [Complementary structure]
The artworks and the design products created by Andreas Christen (born 1936 in Bubendorf, Switzerland, died 2006 in Zurich, Switzerland) are characterized by a precise and minimalist working method, although he was careful to keep the two areas of work separate. After training as a window dresser, Christen attended an experimental program for product design at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) in Zurich. Soon after, in 1959, he opened his own office as an industrial designer. His B74 letterbox is still the standard all over Switzerland, and he contributed many other important products to high-quality Swiss product design, including the simple but elegant aluminum furniture that he designed for the company Lehni AG.
Christen’s product designs and artworks not only consistently revolve around design and the production process; they also display a confidence in the material’s aesthetic. While Christen’s designs focus on how an object functions within space, his artistic works explore how space is experienced using the effects of light. His entire body of work is characterized by his use of the “non-color” white and by a canon of forms dominated by reduction and clarity. While his earlier paintings from the end of the 1950s display a traditional geometric style, his “Monoforms” from the 1960s are based on their very own unique concept. These white reliefs made of polyester have parts that are elevated that, together with the rims on the edges, generate a three-dimensional element. Later in his career, he used these elements and forms with increasing frequency, creating structures that were even more complex, as illustrated by “Komplementär-Struktur” (Complementary Structure). As in many of his other works and objects, the artist is interested here in color and plane. In place of a picture with the illusion of spatial depth, he constructs the opposite in the form of an object protruding into space.
When natural light falls on the pure white shapes that are slanted in relation to one another, a myriad of movements of light and shadow is created on the surface, evoking gray and white nuances. Depending on our viewpoint as a beholder, this creates an animated visual experience and makes us question the reliability of our perception. Andreas Christen may have taken the same conceptual approach based on a rational geometry in his designs and artworks, but it is only in the latter that he combines this with the ephemeral phenomenon of light.