Reto Pulfer

Installation

Installation view, Angiozustand, Lafayette Anticipations, Paris, 2020. Photo: Martin Argyroglo, Lafayette Anticipations

Reto Pulfer’s immersive installations often involve fabrics and threads that create rhizomatic spaces and shelter objects and traces of his interest in metamorphosis. Reto Pulfer considers his installations in terms of their mnemonic and imaginary potential: they create spaces that communicate with an immediate, cosmic environment. Thus, the desire to find one’s way, to stabilize and take root, blends with the possibilities for wandering, adapting, and endlessly transforming oneself.

— Claire Hoffmann

Bourgeon purin pur, Centre culturel suisse, Paris, France, 2019. Photo: Margot Montigny

Bourgeon purin pur, Centre culturel suisse, Paris, France, 2019. Photo: Margot Montigny

Bourgeon purin pur, Centre culturel suisse, Paris, France, 2019. Photo: Margot Montigny

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Installation view, X Bienal de Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua, 2016

Installation view, X Bienal de Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua, 2016

Installation view, X Bienal de Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua, 2016 [detail]

Installation view, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, UK, 2015. Photo: © Max McClure

Installation view, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, UK, 2015. Photo: © Max McClure

Installation view, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, UK, 2015. Photo: © Max McClure

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Installation view, Di Loci Der Ortie, Centre international d’art & du paysage, Île de Vassivière, France, 2015 – 2016

Installation view, Di Loci Der Ortie, Centre international d’art & du paysage, Île de Vassivière, France, 2015 – 2016

Installation view, Di Loci Der Ortie, Centre international d’art & du paysage, Île de Vassivière, France, 2015 – 2016

The exhibition title, Die Loci der Ortie, is linguistically self-reflexive, with the artist playing on words from different languages: loci means places in Latin and translates as orte in German, while ortie (nettle in French) simultaneously signals the artist’s interest in the way plants are utilised while reminding us of the German orte.

Designed as a pathway leading through a succession of tents and objects representing specific mental and physical states, Die Loci der Ortie is a reflection of the starkness of the dam and the artificial character of Vassivière Island. Pulfer sets out to transform Aldo Rossi and Xavier Fabre’s postmodern art centre by constructing a place for listening, remembrance and a pleasingly unexpected interaction between environment, sculpture, architecture and music.

Installation view, Zustand der Intensivierung, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany, 2013

Installation view, Zustand der Intensivierung, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany, 2013

Installation view, Zustand der Intensivierung, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany, 2013

Installation view, Zustand der Intensivierung, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany, 2013

Installation view, Zustand der Intensivierung, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany, 2013

Installation view, Zustand der Intensivierung, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany, 2013

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Installation view, I Would Prefer Not To, Musée Transitoire, Paris, 2019. Photo: Romina Shama

Ende-der-Welt-Kammer, 2013, pencil on cotton, ribbon, rope, 23 minute guitar soundtrack, 240 x 220 x 220 cm

Erinnerungshaus Wiederbelebung einer spezifischen Kindheit [House of Memory Reanimation of a Specific Childhood], 2015-2016, acrylics, ink, pencil on bedsheet, clothes, linen, 243 x 315 x 410 cm

Goldene Sonnenkammer [Golden Chamber of the Sun], 2012, velvet, shoelace, mixed material, 100 x 100 x 100 cm

Goldene Sonnenkammer [Golden Chamber of the Sun], 2012, velvet, shoelace, mixed material, 100 x 100 x 100 cm

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Das Türkise Zustandsgrab, 2010, ink, watercolour, pencil, pen on textile, 230 x 420 x 420 cm

Das Türkise Zustandsgrab, 2010, ink, watercolour, pencil, pen on textile, 230 x 420 x 420 cm

Das Türkise Zustandsgrab, 2010, ink, watercolour, pencil, pen on textile, 230 x 420 x 420 cm

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I have never made a red room before. Usually, my immersive environments are informed by hues of blue and turquoise. My guitar is red, but the colour of my novels I don’t yet know.

I am just about to dig a trench surrounded by stones and replanted nettle, fern and wild thyme. The axis of the trench points to the place where Scorpio’s main star Antares rises, which at night shines in deep red on the southern summer sky.

I have always kept my distance to the colour red. I mean, I use the colour, but normally just sparsely. Equally, it took me 20 years of art making to pursue small scale painting. I paint on rags, torn pieces of linen, bedsheets. I am ashamed that there is a book called Painting on my desk as I don’t usually have books in my studio.

— Reto Pulfer

Performance

Performance, Tincti, Art Basel Parcours, Basel, 2019

Performance, Tincti, Art Basel Parcours, Basel, 2019

Performance, Tincti, Art Basel Parcours, Basel, 2019

Performance, Tincti, Art Basel Parcours, Basel, 2019

Tincti unfolds in the unpolished space of the former depot room of Museum der Kulturen. The immersive installation of curtains, furniture, and rusty metal objects creates an atmosphere that wavers between the homely and the spectral. The centrality of textiles in the installation, and in Pulfer’s broader practice, resonates with the provenance of the museum building—formerly owned by the prominent silk ribbon merchant Martin Bachofen. Interspersed in the space are wild plants—echoed in the natural plant dyes that colour the textiles—in an arrangement that both evokes and withdraws from the aesthetic of home décor. The wild plants highlight a desire for freedom while the natural features were further investigated in Pulfer’s performances, whereby the artist animated the installation through dance and live music in a manner echoing the Wilde Maa (wild man) from the Vogel Gryff festival (Festival of the Griffin), one of the oldest and most prominent annual processions in Basel, dating back to the Middle Ages.

Performance, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, 2015

Performance, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, 2015

Performance, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, 2015

Performance, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, 2015

Performance, Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, 2015

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Performance, Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2015

Performance, Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2015

Performance, Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2015

Performance, Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2015

Installation view, Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2015

Installation view, Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2015

Installation view, Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2015

Dehydrierte Landschaft (dehydrated Landscape) was conceived as a route through a succession of tent installations containing, at its core, a synaesthesic oeuvre in the form of a big hemp net titled MMMS Reticulum Dehydrierte Landschaft.

Wall Works

Zera Fingerhandformen (Nacht indigo) [Form of Zera Fingerhand (Night Indigo)], 2013, glazed ceramic, cotton ribbon, 45 x 36 x 4 cm

Zera Fingerhandform Vielseitig [Form of Zera Fingerhand], 2013, glazed ceramic, cotton ribbon, 50 x 45 x 8 cm

Zera Fingerhandformen (Rot-orange) [Form of Zera Fingerhand (Red-orange)], 2013, glazed ceramic, cotton ribbon, 34 x 27 x 4 cm

Sauerkrapp & Achilles Tausendblatt, 2019, acrylic, pen, pencil on wood and pastel on wall, 42 x 13 x 2 cm [wood], 65 x 40 cm [drawing]

Sacrum Planet, 2007-2019, raku ceramic, acrylic on wall, 16 x 10 x 7 cm

Farbkarte [colour chart], 2019, cotton dyed with nettle, weld, hibiscus, madder, yarrow, indigo, turmeric, cherry tree, 232 x 58 cm

Farbkarte [colour chart], 2019, cotton dyed with nettle, weld, hibiscus, madder, yarrow, indigo, turmeric, cherry tree, 232 x 58 cm, installation view, Curves to the Apple, Hollybush Gardens, London, 2019

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Majoran sagt Hallo [Marjoram says hello], 2019, pen, acrylic on bedsheet dyed with nettle and hibiscus,
263 x 143 cm

Der Sichere Rucksack [The Trustworthy Rucksack], 2013, ink on bedsheet, cotton, velvet, polyester, kitefabric, wooden frame, 52 x 236 x 12 cm

Transformationen des Zustands, 2016, pencil, acrylic, ink, turmeric, clothes, textiles on linen, 193 x 277 cm

Transformationen des Zustands, 2016, pencil, acrylic, ink, turmeric, clothes, textiles on linen, 193 x 277 cm [detail]

Transformationen des Zustands, 2016, pencil, acrylic, ink, turmeric, clothes, textiles on linen,
193 x 277 cm [detail]

Ortilose, 2019, cotton and linen dyed with nettle, indigo, madder, weld, 185 x 248 cm

Nachstellbarkeit (Die Treffen des Abends, Plauderei), 2013 – 2016, ink, acrylic, turmeric, pencil on textile, bedsheet, 270 x 560 cm

Autodidakt 2, 2009, pencil and watercolour on textile, 240 x 397 cm

ZR Fliegzeuge, 2009-2010, pen, pencil, watercolour on bedsheet, zipper, thread,
260 x 205 cm

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Wüstenhain mit Gewächs und domestizierten Schlagen [Desert Grove with Shrubs and Domesticated Snakes], 2017, acrylic on shirt, wood, 32 x 16 x 16 cm

Wüstenhain mit Gewächs und domestizierten Schlagen [Desert Grove with Shrubs and Domesticated Snakes], 2017, acrylic on shirt, wood, 32 x 16 x 16 cm

Das Gluhen der Milchstrasse [The Glowing of the Milky Way], 2013, ink on cotton, ribbon, wooden frame,
74 x 53 x 7 cm

Mehr Experimente [More Experiments], 2013, ink on cotton, yarn, wooden frame, 47 x 50 x 4 cm

Capsicum Ofifusiani, 2017, acrylic on linen,
28 x 19 cm

Ofifus wird zu Luft [Ofifus Becomes Air], 2017, acrylic, pencil on cotton, linen, 30 x 26 cm

Gewöhnliche Farne und der unendliche verzweigte Farn der Exzentriker, 2017, acrylic, pencil on linen, 24 x 14 cm

Nachtfarn [Night Fern], 2017, acrylic, tea, pencil on bedsheet, 39.8 x 31 cm [framed]

Madder Matter, 2019, acrylic and pencil on cotton dyed with madder (Rubia tinctoria), 45 x 34 x 3 cm [framed]

Madder Matter, 2019, acrylic and pencil on cotton dyed with madder (Rubia tinctoria), 45 x 34 x 3 cm [detail]

Färbergarten, 2019, acrylic and pencil on cotton dyed with weld (Reseda luteola), 45 x 34 x 3 cm [framed]

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TEXTS

Festival – En pratiques à la Fondation Lafayette Anticipations à Paris
Maze Magazine, 9 February 2020

Der Stoff, er bebt und atmet
taz Berlin, 7 February 2019

Metamorphoses – Let Everything Happen to You
By Adam Kleinman, art-agenda online, 22 June 2018 

Reto Pulfer
By Annette Amberg, Flash Art online, 6 September 2016

Reto Pulfer
By Linda Taylor, Frieze, October 2015

Reto Pulfer: Gewässerzeiten
By Lizzie Lloyd, Art Monthly, September 2015

Reto Pulfer “Gewässerzeiten” and Patrick Staff “The Foundation” at Spike Island, Bristol
Mousse Magazine online, 3 September 2015

Reto Pulfer
By Marco Tagliafierro, Artforum online, 8 June 2015

Reto Pulfer at Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nürnberg
Mousse Magazine online, 5 December 2013

Reto Pulfer: Zustandseffeke
By Matthew Shen Goodman, The Brooklyn Rail online, 19 July 2013

Reto Pulfer
By Allese Thomson, Artforum online, 6 June 2013

Reto Pulfer
e-flux online, 28 May 2013

Reto Pulfer
By Matthew Rana, Frieze, 1 June 2012

Reto Pulfer
By Barbara Casavecchia, Frieze online, 11 November 2011

Reto Pulfer
By Simone Menegoi, Artforum online, 18 October 2011

Reto Pulfer. For A Subjective Syntax
By Andrea Ruggieri, Arte e critica, June – August 2011

Parco giochi per artisti
By Andrea Lissoni, Rolling Stone, May 2011

Reto Pulfer
By Annette Amberg, Flash Art, number 35, April – March 2010

Reto Pulfer – Some whales and some ways of installing a sculpture
By David Lewis, Mousse Magazine online, number 21, November – December 2009

Reto Pulfer
Interview by Michele Robecchi, artmap online, 2008

BIOGRAPHY

Reto Pulfer (born 1981, Bern, Switzerland) lives and works in Uckermark, Germany. He creates immersive installations using fabric, plants, drawings, paintings and a variety of found objects. Pulfer will participate in the forthcoming Liverpool Biennial in 2021. Recent solo exhibitions include Angiozustand, Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2020); Tincti, Art Basel Parcours (2019); Bourgeon purin pur, Centre culturel suisse, Paris (2019); Die Loci Der Ortie, Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’île de Vassivière, France (2015); Gewässerzeiten, Spike Island, Bristol, UK (2015); Dehydrierte Landschaft, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Switzerland (2015); Les chambres des états, Musée régional d’art contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon, Sérignan, France; and Zustandseffekte, Swiss Institute, New York (2013). Recent group exhibitions include You, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2019); Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt, Kunsthalle Basel (2018); Sympathie, Centre d’art de Neuchâtel, Switzerland (2018); and Game of Life III: The Julius Variations, Kristiansand Kunsthall, Norway (2016). His work is held in the collections of FRAC Limousin, France; Centre national des arts plastiques, France; Collection Lafayette Anticipations, Paris; Sammlung Kunstkredit Baselland, Basel; and David Roberts Art Foundation, London.

 

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