The title outlines the agenda behind this, Claudia Comte’s first large-scale survey exhibition. The artist used 10 rooms, create 40 wall paintings and fill 1,059 square metres of space. Needless to say, this is not just a painstaking but routine job! The artist’s burgeoning instal- lations, seductively polished sculptures and perfect colour gradients provide a great degree of pleasure.Claudia Comte loves grids, systems and patterns. She makes reference to Abstract Expression- ism, Op Art, Pop Art and Concrete Art. Her models include the English artist Bridget Riley (1931) or Victor Vasarely (1906-1997), one of the founders of Op-Art. As one stands in front of, or in Claudia Comte’s expansive paintings, dizziness or flickering are not rare experiences. At the Kunstmuseum Luzern the artist combines the painted museum walls with a new series of paintings in the forms of circles, semicircles, quadrants and triangles. These ‘shaped canvases’ have their roots in American painting between the 1950s and 60, an era that interests Claudia Comte in particular, not just from an art-historical standpoint, but above all with a view to popular culture, comics and fun fairs. With her Cocktail Paintings, the artist creates a direct link to the gaudy and sparkling colours and colour gradients of long drinks like Blue Monday, Ruby Red Breeze or Orange Grapefruit Twist. Claudia Comte uses elements from art history and everyday life, tranposing them into her art with ease, humour and touch of nonchalance.
Pop culture is also an inspiring source for Claudia Comte’s sculptures. She grinds huge rabbit’s ears out of marble or discovers the shapes of dinosaur bones concealed in industrial design. For the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Luzern she cut larger-than-life cactuses out of huge trees last summer in the Jura Mountains using a chainsaw. Craftsmanship is central to Claudia Comte’s work. This artist saws, grinds, mills and polishes, and her extraordinary verve is al- ways tangible. She devotes herself to her work with great persistence and assiduity, standing for days in the forest with a chainsaw so as to give the large tree trunk the desired shape and then smooth the surface.
For the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Luzern Claudia Comte combines sculpture, painting and wall painting to create expansive installations. With humour and intelligence she is presenting a dizzying range of works, beginning with outsize swings and ending with a smile on our lips.
Claudia Comte: born 1983 in Grancy VD, lives and works in Berlin. She did a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2007 at the École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) and in 2010 a Master of Arts at the Haute École Pédagogique in Lausanne.