SRF, Sendung «Musik für einen Gast», 10.10.2021
Brigit Naef, Buchbinderin und Künstlerin

Redaktion: Eva Oertle


By Marie DuPasquier

The rough cemented grain of a modern architecture, a hummed excerpt of Jolene or the wash painted-like color of a favorite cocktail. Many are the fragments captured by Brigit Naef to constitute her assortment. Collected over time, they are kept in the grid of her mind. According to her desire, mood and humor, she is then able to draw materials, forms, colors, patterns out of this infinite repertoire and select the adequate components to form the next piece. It will start somewhere and finish elsewhere.

Brigit Naef is guided by associations. If it is about finding the right material relationships, the appropriate paint or lacquer adhering to the specific surface, she would start over and over until she gets the exact formula and goes on, eventually, sometimes for very long periods of time. Although, her practice does not consist solely of a sum of physical components but consciously involves a whole set of more or less abstract relationships. The specific sonority of a title; a word to be associated with a rosy almost marbled glaze; sounds and speech, fantasy or everyday anecdotes nourish in a quasi-synesthetic way the same ambition. Brigit Naef works with associations of materials and ideas, she likes false evidences, makebelieves to gently mislead the viewer. As soon as a shape would seem too familiar, even just like a blurry souvenir of a faraway recurrent reverie, she would willingly rearrange the assemblage to distort obvious connotations.

Thus, going beyond functionalities and common uses of materials to make something else appear is part of her procedure. If textile, wood, glass, metal or pearl chains are regularly part of her pieces, her favored material remains first and foremost cardboard. It is with ease and rigor that she explores its properties and its endless transformational potential. Soft, malleable, stable, resistant. Her enchantment for materiality and assembly techniques stems in part from her long practice as a bookbinder and from the manufacturing of cardboard objects. From this derive her meticulous gestures and attention to technique and method. Not denying any proximity to design and crafts, she nevertheless constantly strives – in a subtle game of adherence and rejection – to escape their comfort and detach from them so as not to burden the pieces with these legacies.

The artist flirts cheerfully with architecture and ornamentation, as her works could project us into a bewildering spatiality, semblance of scale model or interior adornment, if their perspectives were not immediately obstructed. Wall piece, painting or object; sculpture and plinth at the same time, architectonic features. Composite elements, certainly. Their elegant simplicity disconcerts and makes them unclassifiable. Without being easily deciphered, the artworks aim to generously trigger a wide variety of emotions and titillate a spontaneous response from the viewer. Frisky and with a certain nonchalance, Brigit Naef elicits upwell sensations by the appreciation of the ordinary and the observation of simple beauty.