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Elza Sīle

*1989, Riga, lives and works in Zurich

  • Kitten in a kitchen, 2020
  • Silkscreen and oil paint on aluminium plate
  • Edition of: 12
  • Size: 65,00 cm x 50,00 cm
  • Production: Elza Sīle Studio / Esther Schena, Zurich
  • CHF 680.00
  • Sold
  • Inquiry

Elza Sīle's edition is based on the repetition of the pattern of an architectural stencil ruler on a metal plate. While some of the shapes clearly evoke domestic furnishings such as a dining table with chairs or a bathroom set, others are more reminiscent of simple geometric figures such as circles or rectangles. The stencil was screen printed, a technique that allows for endless iterations, reflecting the myriad repetitions of our daily domestic routines

In a second step, the artist annotated each stencil by adding embossed "x" motifs and painting other elements in color. The placement of the "x "s follows simple rules, such as counting off all the top horizontal lines of the figures. Depending on how we interpret the shapes of the stencil at the beginning, the added elements turn into something else: If we consider the shapes as semantic symbols like furniture, the added elements could represent people sitting at a table or document their movements in space. If, on the other hand, we consider the shapes as mere geometric entities, we perceive the "x" and painted elements merely as further abstract figures or codes

Questioning the analogies between painting, language and architecture is an essential aspect of Sīle's working process. In a playful manner, the artist explores academic concepts such as the "grammar of painting" or the "construction of a painting" by interpreting these metaphorical concepts in a purely literal way. In this optic, she defines elementary units that form her vocabulary and rules that correspond to her grammar. Rather than applying paint to a surface with a brush or drawing a line with a pencil, she transforms art utensils into building materials by stacking pencil leads or squeezing paint directly from a tube to create cylindrical spatial boundaries. In this way, Sīle's works often create three-dimensional compositions that can resemble miniature landscapes. The current edition reflects Sīle's use of organizational systems to guide her artistic interventions. It invites us to question our habits of perception and interpretation

Elza Sīle was nominated for the Shizuko Yoshikawa Award in 2020 and received the Werkbeitrag des Kantons Zürich in the same year. Her works were last shown in 2020 at the kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga. PhilippZollinger Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Elza Sīle's work from 6 March to 17 April 2021. The production of these works was made possible by the Art Collection Office of the Canton of Zurich.

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