1972 - 73
55 x 54 x 13 cm
Nylon thread, Novopan sprayed, acrylic glass
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist and Galerie am See
Organisation spatiale No 112
The artist Marguerite Hersberger (born 1943 in Basel, Switzerland) was influenced by the Zurich Concretes. Her trademark works are light sculptures made of acrylic glass and neon. Through her early investigations into light vs. color and stasis vs. motion, she contributed to a highly topical discourse in the 1960s, when Op Art and Kinetic Art (in which light was used a material) were popular – primarily thanks to international artists’ groups like GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel) and ZERO.
At the end of the 1960s, she embedded prisms of acrylic glass into wooden cubes painted in different colors. These works reflect light and space in a dazzling way. In 1970, she began attaching tightly stretched nylon threads to glass boxes as a way of drawing geometric shapes in space (“Organisation Spatiale”). Soon after, she began creating her “Polissages,” which are works located somewhere between picture and relief in which space unfolds through light and color. Depending on the angle of the light as well as the combination of layers of color and the position of the beholder, the foreground and background merge to form changing spatial dimensions.
From 1980 on, Hersberger installed mirrors in the background to give the polished panes in the “Polissages” a mysterious, shimmering silver-gray hue. Using color only sparingly at first, the artist began to paint the back panels not only in gray or black, but also in bright red and blue starting in the mid-1980s. These works were followed by her “Konstellationen” in the 1990s, which are rectangles, squares, and circular shapes in which diagonals create a dynamic. These constellations oscillate between plane and space, while suggesting multiple levels. This is achieved by placing two panes of acrylic glass on top of each other, leaving a few centimeters between them. The upper pane is transparent, the lower opaque. These are sometimes painted on the front, sometimes on the back; sometimes the paint is impasto, other times it is applied in thin layers.
Her fascination with light and space also inspired the artist to explore public art in depth. In 1980, she began designing large accessible spaces of light in which she used colored light that shines through architectural elements glazed with acrylic glass instead of colored surfaces. These works are best exemplified by her large “Farblichtfelder”, which Hersberger designed for the Irchel campus of the University of Zurich and the “Konkrete Lichträume” in the company Telekurs AG in Zurich. She also created “Lichtpassagen” (1991) in the pedestrian underpass of the Winterthur train station. Her latest interventions include “Farbe-Licht-Zeichen” in the GerArtrium in Pfäffikon in Zurich, and “Skylines” in the Schweizerische Epi-Klinik (Swiss Epilepsy Clinic) in Zurich (2013).
Dominique von Burg