Apr 7, 2020 · 9:42 PM

Date Undated
Object dimensions 50 x 29 x 5 cm
Technique/material Relief; dispersion, cardboard, wood
Credit Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Hans and Sibylle Grieshaber
Inv. no. SK01010
Robert S. Gessner

Reliefentwurf für Architekturdetail 1:10 [Relief design for an architectural detail 1:10]

Robert S. Gessner (born 1908 in Zurich, Switzerland, died 1982 in Locarno, Switzerland) was a trained graphic designer who became well-known for his urban architecture motifs, which he made using different techniques, and his floating solar forms, which he combined as basic elements with other motifs. He expanded the artistic field that had been precisely staked out by the Zurich Concretists by adding a poetic twist, thus making it more open to new influences, while independently pursuing his own path at the same time. Unlike the stricter representatives of Concrete Art, Gessner always strove to establish an equilibrium between rational and sensuous qualities, and his contribution to the art of the Zurich Concretists consisted in emphasizing the special properties of the materials he used.
Gessner’s work is characterized by how his learned trade, his dedication to his work as a graphic designer in advertising, and his work as a freelance artist all inspired one another. Due to his different interests, Gessner was only able to devote part of his time to his artistic career, but this also allowed him to maintain the distance he needed to reflect on international trends and to translate these into his own pictorial creations. In his work “Nr. 56,” which is painted in a Cubist style and shows references to Constructivism, Gessner refers back to his first oil paintings from the 1930s. “Village Russe mélancolique / Dessin mi-automatique au clair de lune,” on the other hand, represents the phase in his oeuvre from the 1940s and 1950s, which was dominated by abstract and figurative urban landscapes. Many of Gessner’s later compositions are also inspired by experiences with nature. In the pictures he painted on Ibiza, the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies are prominent motifs. During this period, the artist also developed constellations consisting of crystalline forms as well as black and white lines and stripes. Playful, weightless shapes and lighter colors increasingly began to dominate Gessner’s paintings, and they continued in a series of relief sculptures made of Plexiglas from the 1960s that include the relief “Entwurf für Architekturdetail.”

Dominique von Burg




With financial support by:

Lotteriefonds Canton of Zurich

Baugarten Stiftung
Ernst Göhner Stiftung
Dr. Adolph Streuli-Stiftung
Stiftung Kunstsammlung Albert und Melanie Rüegg



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Apr 7, 2020
9:30:00 PM CEST