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Alan Schmalz

Alan Schmalz’s works are mostly made up of found items (pieces of wood, old paper), by means of which he revives the memory of forgotten objects and conceives surprising installations like The Distribution of Potatoes (Citizens Parade), 2016.

His artistic practice involves drawing, sculpture, video and performance, but sticks to a single modus operandi. It is with the help of recycled material, carefully collected by the artist (old geographic and scientific maps, or encyclopaedia pages), that he creates his collages, incidentally leaving his visible fingerprints, sometimes the silhouette of his hands.

In works like Témoins (courts-circuits) or series DOORS, from 2018, his assemblages are put together between architecture and abstraction, reworked in pencil, in watercolour, with pieces of adhesive tape, self-sticking labels and a multitude of other elements that are sometimes unusual, like tobacco or balsamic vinegar. Similarly to his installations, his two-dimensional works evoke a piece of history that the artist brings back to life with mystery and poetry. By highlighting traces of the past, Alan Schmalz’s work is the vehicle of a kind of resistance to the incessant search for modernity, offering an alternative way to rethink our society.

Alan Schmalz (1987), a graduate of the Haute École d’art et de design in Geneva (HEAD, 2014), lives and works between Marseille and Geneva. After his solo exhibition Appareils de récréation at Forde in 2017, he received the Kiefer Hablitzel Prize as part of the Swiss Art Awards in Basel. He also won the Hirzel Prize, for which he exhibited in the Salle Crosnier (Société des Arts) in 2019.