lives and works in Zurich and in the canton Jura, Switzerland
Simply that … the song, that it sings, you understand, that it sings, that that is real and a real part of our lives … yes, that painting is simply there and not segregated off in some institution or in spaces specially provided for it or taking place at specially appointed times, but that it is always and everywhere a natural, self-evident part of our existence.”
Adrian Schiess studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) in Zurich from 1975 to 1976, after which he trained to be a graphic designer from 1976 to 1980.
In 1984, Adrian Schiess began creating works in which he placed painted bits of cardboard (Fetzen) and wooden panels flat on the floor. This marked the beginning of a painting program “that scatters and disseminates infinitely” (Adrian Schiess). His well-known Flache Arbeiten (from 1987), which he later began calling Malerei (Painting), promote essential criteria of modernism, such as the expansion of the pictorial space, the separation of the picture from the wall, and the depersonalization of picture production. He also disconnects color from the picture by scattering it in the room in the form of chromatic gradients on panels that reflect the space around them. Such liberated painting can be produced using any medium or technique, like wood, paper, aluminum, video, or photographs.
In 1995, Schiess began working with wall objects made of condensed material as a way of concentrating the scattered pieces of painting on the surface of the wall on a small scale, while also explicitly emphasizing classical picture supports. In 2009, Schiess also began to make large paintings on polyester, which he initially produced on his studio floor in southern France. In these, Schiess pours thin acrylic paint over several layers of delicate, permeable polyester fabric, changing the order of layers until he can call it a finished painting. In the process, materials like leaves and little twigs that collect on the floor of the studio become stuck in the painting, thus transforming it into both a piece and a representation of nature. Many works in this series were shown together for the first time in the Musée d’Art Moderne de St. Etienne in 2010, after which they were exhibited at the Bündner Kunstmuseum in Chur in 2012.
Adrian Schiess participated in the Venice Biennale (Chiesa San Staë) in 1990 and the documenta 9 in Kassel in 1992.
Selected solo exhibitions: Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen (2020/2021), Musée du FRAC PACA, Marseille, France (2014); Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, Switzerland (2012); Musée d'Art Moderne, St. Etienne, France (2010); Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis (2007); Kunstmuseum Solothurn, Switzerland (2004); Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Germany (2001); Kunsthaus Bregenz; Austria (1998); Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria (1996); Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (1994); Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France, (1993); Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland (1990)
His works can be found in such renowned museum collections as Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Belvedere, Vienna, Austria; FNAC, Paris, France; Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Spain; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein; Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, Switzerland; MUMOK, Vienna, Austria; ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Germany.