Since the late 1960s, the Swiss conceptual artist Jean-Frédéric Schnyder has created a vast oeuvre of paintings, photographs, sculptures, objects, and installations. In his art practice he remains radically open, one result of which is a fully discontinuous body of work. However, looking at Schnyder’s painterly work since the beginning of the 1970s, one discovers surprising continuities and ruptures at the same time.
Schnyder orients his choice of themes and motifs on existing and common practices, plays them consistently and skillfully through – still life, nude, landscape, the three most common motifs in art history, for example – while the works remain stylistically highly heterogeneous. Instead of perpetuating the archetype of romanticized Swiss Alpine images, it rather represents images of humanly cultivated, self-made landscape – for example, when highways and roads are foregrounded. The artist works in his studio with figurative-abstract motifs and styles. For a series of flower paintings – another classic motif – he applies a pixel system that recalls an early digital aesthetic as well as color field painting of the beginning of the 20th century.