Born in Zurich in 1969, studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and Art at the SKDZ School of Art and Design Zurich. He lives and works in Erlenbach (ZH) and Davos (GR), Switzerland.
His work is in constant evolution moving from figurative art to abstract, landing on what he now describes as a theme of texture and color, always working with an (increasingly) layered oil painting technique.
Conradin follows a systematic process in which first the rough shapes are defined with charcoal, thus determining movement and dynamics. Then the chiaroscuro follows, and when he begins to apply the layers of paint, only the color varies and no longer the form.
Conradin has exhibited in Zurich and Locarno, returning to ReCreArte for a solo exhibition.
A journey to color and texture
September 2nd through February 26th 2024
Saturday September 2nd, 2023
ReCreArte, Locarno. September 2023 - February 2024
Color textures / Farbtexturen
Text by Tanja Warren (original in German)
A crumpled piece of laundry, carelessly thrown into a corner - inconspicuous and yet fascinating. Things of this kind are usually overlooked, and yet under certain circumstances they cast a peculiar spell over us. Sometimes it is the effect of the light that playfully develops a life of its own on the surfaces when viewed for a longer period of time. Then again, it is the colors that gain intensity or lose themselves in the darkness of the folds, depending on the texture of the fabric.
The actual object plays no role in this immersion in the world of the incidental. In the paintings of Conradin Stiffler (born in Zurich, 1968), at least, it seems that way. By literally zooming in on the various materials at extreme close-up, as a painter, he allows something new and captivatingly different to emerge in the form of gently undulating landscapes, tightly layered petals, or wildly intertwined worm-like formations. What at first glance is reminiscent of Minimal Art, of an almost meticulous concentration on the essential, clearly gains a type of ‘friction’ at second glance. The choice of neckline is not based on the original shape. The piece of laundry may have been the trigger for the series of paintings "Color Textures" (“Farbtexturen”), but the pictorial world that emerged from it have long since developed a fantastic life of its own..
Conradin is a trained architect, and like an architect he "builds" his paintings in layers. He begins by priming the canvas in a selected shade, as he himself says he does not like white canvases. Then he sketches the shapes according to a template, or the surface of an object that catches his eye. It can be a plant, an insect or the shell of a turtle. Already at this point the lines begin to develop a life of their own, which he lets guide him. His approach is quite reminiscent of the automatic line work of the Surrealists. He deliberately tries not to influence the process of creation of the forms, which ultimately remains clearly perceptible to the viewer. Originally rigid surfaces seem to be moved all at once - almost alive, in a certain turmoil.
The subsequent layers of paint are applied in a glazed manner. Conradin works on one layer for a good two to three days. Layer after layer follows, first in black and white, then in color. He may choose complementary colors and be surprised by the effect. It takes time until the picture appeals to him, until the colors shine in such a way that he is satisfied. It is as if he is purposefully searching for absolute perfection in the inconspicuous. Sometimes he puts the painting away for some time or hangs it on the wall to quibble with individual spots until he knows again how he wants to continue painting. He is definitely a perfectionist and works until the colors shimmer peculiarly between the lines and shadows. In this way he achieves an effect reminiscent of shiny silk but also of moist innards or mucous membranes. He does not deny the association with a vulva. The result is a peculiar contrast between austere coolness and very carnal sensuality.
This contradiction is conspicuously manifested in a kind of triptych. In the individual paintings, a curtain of dark, almost black folds parts to reveal, like solidified lava, a brightly glowing stream of color. Conradin speaks of metamorphosis, the change of form of an insect. And he basically transfers this change of form to the objects and surfaces with which he is in close contact. In the extreme close-up, the conscientious treatment of the object, a changed world emerges. While his hand with the brush follows the lines of the outer shell, the shell or the carapace, his gaze penetrates beneath the surface, cuts it up and exposes the interior, the unknown. That which captivates us in a peculiar way, the actual being beneath the surface.
Dr. Tanja Warring, Curator Muzeum Susch, July 2023
Soon more to come
Page under construction
Images of group exhibition June 2022. ReCreArte, Locarno
By Conradin Stiffler
Technique: Oil on canvas
Size: 130 cm x 130 cm
Produced: Zurich, 2017
By Conradin Stiffler
Technique: Oil on canvas
Size: 70 cm x 90 cm
Produced: Davos, 2022
2017 and 2018 Group exhibitions at the Phyton gallery in Erlenbach, Zurich, Switzerland
2022 Group exhibition at the Phyton gallery in Erlenbach, Zurich, Switzerland
2022 Group exhibition at the ReCreArte gallery in Locarno, Ticino, Switzerland
For further information, feel free to contact us.