Sébastien Schnyder reproduces the construction of images, in the form of «souvenir», such as moulding, silkscreening and reproduction procedures used for multiplication like a drift affecting the value origin.

Sèbastien Schnyder is a young artist who creates art through different objects and mediums. Currently he is attending l’ École nationale Supérieure d’Art “Villa Arson” in France.
The shapes and objects chosen by him to create his artworks are products from industrial production: panel advertising, metal shelf, household bottles, hammer, iron, etc. Each shape is chosen for its potential to deceive or remind us of its usefulness.
Sèbastien Schnyder’s artistic research develops around this question: “How do we build ourself and how do we built (around)?”
Each shape is chosen for its potential to mislead about its usefulness, or to remind us of it through devices or copies. For him the important thing is to stretch the form and its materiality in a plot.
Beginning with the usual functions objects to then pretend by substituting their materialities in order to question them on their productive relationship in our collective awareness.

Artwork: Incubaleur – Photo Courtesy: Sébastien Schnyder

Editor: Well Sebastien, What’s your story?

Sébastien Schnyder: I am a native of Switzerland, this country of mountains and chocolate, where I have lived most of my life. After studying photography, I travelled for several years on the roads of Europe by hitch- hiking in order to understand people in their reality. It is thus my opening on the world which sharpened, and which led me to want to move away from the flat image for volume in order to translate the forms of this world. I then resumed studies in ceramics and then in fine arts, at the National Superior School of Art Villa Arson in Nice. I then found a material way to express a form of world and that leads me to my current work.

Editor: You work with many different objects and mediums, is it right to consider you as a conceptual artist? Tell me more about your vision of art.
Sébastien Schnyder: I don’t think I’m a conceptual artist because I have a formal practice. The mediums I use are always times I have taken to learn to understand them. My conceptual part is however effectively pronounced, for me both technicality and concept form art pieces full of relevance. It is thus an ontological functioning of the arts, there are certainly those, of the astonishing conceptual artists, but that they have for the reasons of their times chosen this turn, but today we are in a society of image, it is necessary then to be able to transmit a message by constituted materially, the visual arts in particular.

Editor: What do you want to express with your artworks? Is there a central topic around which your research develops’?

Sébastien Schnyder: It is the transformation of our habitats and of our way of sheltering and living that constitutes the formal transformation of my work, it is being able to question the materials that go in turn in repro- ductions of objects or everyday products to build a narrative breach in the spectator in order to challenge him and perhaps lead him to re-evaluate what he surrounds him. The form of the banal and the everyday forms the pathways that provoke changes in the chemistry of materials and the constitution of devices forming a plating of the real into fiction. Contemporary ruin is thus at the heart of my research, as an upside-down format of ruin, inspired by the urbanization of cities and peri-urban areas, through an analytical process, deconstructing architectures into fragments in order to dissect them and offer a sample to observe.

Artwork: Transmission 1 – Photo Courtesy: Sébastien Schnyder
Artwork: Transmission 2 – Photo Courtesy: Sébastien Schnyder

Editor: How is the artistic situation in your country? Is there enough support for young artists? (Do you have any advice for organizations to better support young artists?)

Sébastien Schnyder:With the current situation, the aids took a long time to be set up, as I think everywhere. Exhibitions postponed or cancelled, competitions postponed, and so for young artists, it was, one year, com- plicated. Some helpers come with specific projects, but the concern is always the same: the time to prepare a file, both the application and the proposal of projects take time that is never evaluated as a work format, therefore not remunerated. It is then a small number of artists who do not live in a precarious way despite the benevolent institutions, returned to the world of art is for the new generation of artists is very complicated, the solution is often the format of the collective, it allows to create links, connections, partnership and makes the job of artist less elitist.

Editor: How many artworks have you done so far? Is there one piece in particular you’re fond of? (why?)

Sébastien Schnyder: I think I’ve produced about thirty pieces, but some of them change over time, and create a kind of mold library, I make spaces or reuse them in order to operate on a principle of reproducibility. My favorite piece, I think it’s often the one I have in mind that is not yet realized. More seriously, it is currently «the consumable formless», a shelf with a heating system or a fake wax bottle that turns into liquid and then moves to the floor below to create a new shape. It is undoubtedly this Cartesian principle and that of a slow entropy that make it my favorite piece, observing it gives me a moment when I take the time to observe an object that holds another temporality to reality, taking the time and seeing it pass by at the same time, that is what fascinates me in this piece and makes it special.

Artwork: L’informe consommable – Photo Courtesy: Sébastien Schnyder

Editor: My next question to you is about the current world situation. The Covid-19 pandemic is changing the way of seeing and behaving in daily life. Has this pandemic situation changed your view of art in anyway?

Sébastien Schnyder: I was in France at the beginning of the crisis, so I spent my confinement there, without any real workshop, so I had to review my practice for three months. I took the time to catch up on a lot of reading put off, I lived in a new temporality, being able to take this time to return to the concepts that animated me and reevaluate them with the situation, which allowed me to prepare my thoughts and ideas. It is undoubtedly by this, the future projects that allowed me to see the end. Thus, im- pregnated by what is happening around us, my practice and my vision have seen new value and questioning about the usefulness of artistic production, understanding the even greater need in moments when it is stopped and reduced to digital formats. My fear in this is a form of Malraux’ «imaginary museum», a construction of the imaginary and the cultural through the image and more through its essence, its materiality.

Editor: Would you like to give any advice to young creatives like you who will read this interview?

Sébastien Schnyder:I don’t think I have the years of experience that forms the right advice, but if I can give one from my point of view, it is the importance of collectivity in the art world and in general. Art doesn’t work unilaterally, so of course, in my opinion, the same is true of the practice of art.

Artwork: Border – Photo Courtesy: Sébastien Schnyder
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