jacques basler was born in 1942, in lausanne, switzerland
as a sculptor, he lives and works in his studio in rue, switzerland (fribourg), and in filicudi island / sicily, italy
many solo and group exhibitions have presented his works.
jacques basler, or the fervor of the authenticity
interview with street (switzerland), may 6, 2008 by jef gianadda
I wanted to ask you what is art. this question, the american philosopher nelson goodman had substituted the question: "when there is art?" according to you?
I would talk about the artists. I think they are to the society that what the microbes and bacteria are to life: indispensable. they are believed unnecessary, everyone fight against them, but life would not be possible without them. about art now, I almost think for more than forty years ... to me it is something subjective that comes out from my bowels and get to this status once sold. especially as I consider every sold sculpture as a miracle.
it is the act of purchase that would define art?
in a certain way, to some extent that a not read book or not listened music do not exist. the same for a sculpture: when someone buys it, the piece is completed. until then, the cycle is not complete. Certainly, while I was creating it, I felt like I'm making art, I lived through the anguish of the artist, from euphoria to despair, but finally the public view that makes the work.
back to the place of the artist in the society. what is his part?
remove any literature, any music and any new creative plastic art and see after how we can live!
one of the major issues in art continues to be the speech. should art convey a message?
yes and no. the work, whatever it is, can inherently convey a message subjective or emotional. therefore, it expresses by itself. however, in contemporary art, the speech is in my opinion too often much more important than the work itself.
but the artist can also take a standpoint, or even denounce?
of course. I also think now more than ten years about a future sculpture entitled "in the name of ...". what haven’t we done "in the name of ..." since mankind exists? it should be realized within two years, but as now my ideas are not yet as simple as that.
simplicity as a necessary condition for the understanding or the beauty?
for me, less I think, as better it is. as more I can do a vacuum, in order to observe and listen the nature, as better will be my work. similarly, if someone looks at one of my sculptures for ten seconds without thinking, I estimate having won.
a work reflects its author as much as it feeds. in which way your sculptures have built yourself?
balthus said: "Many people make paintings, but there are few painters." for each artist to find his sincerity, not make selling. it is a huge challenge for all artists, even the most famous. in my case, I would probably not become that I am without my sculpture – from which I live now for more than thirty-five years - that built me in a dialectic way: I have built it as it has built me.
what is the role of doubt in your work?
approximately fifty percent, in the sense that I am never happy with a sculpture, even if I sometimes revisit old sculptures with some satisfaction. in my workshop, where I try to create without repeating myself, I still doubt.
do you really create?
no! merely we only are reinventing that was already well-known, on the basis of the past and all that we have seen, red or heard. I do not believe in genius. giacometti, with his walking man, e.g., would not exist without the etruscans. and this is standart.
what about the coincidence?
omnipresent in people's life, it is also present in your workshop. when I start a sculpture, I' always start with an idea, but halfway casual event takes over. regardless of its size, the sculpture is always my guide, the sculpture is the boss.
"all art is autobiographical. the pearl is the autobiography of the oyster, "said the italian film maker federico fellini. however, it is always a grain of sand that triggers the activity of the pearl oyster! what is your engine?
I did an apprenticeship as a decorator with a boss who, when I was fifteen, immediately learned to weld and improvise, which I loved very much. since the "creation" is a true happiness, if not a real need for me. after one week holiday, I have to go back to work. the question is not to have ideas, but to eliminate the bad ideas. as to the autobiographical part, it is always present. we can not escape ourselves.
after a few years solely devoted to an abstraction that you also continue to explore, you are returned to the human figure, in a less tortured than you started. Who of you, the art or the artist has appeased the other?
for eight years, particularly influenced by our society (the artist is a sponge), I stopped representing the human body and returned to a much more sober manner. to sculpture has perhaps calmed me, but life, particularly, calmed me, too. I am sixty-six years old and, therefore, I see things differently now than when I was thirty years old. I am less tortured, that is reflected in my sculptures.