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Carbon 12

Private Gallery
Carbon 12 goes Abstract, Khaleej Times week-end magazine
  People misunderstand what an artist is supposed to do. An artist is supposed to create situations you’ve never seen before and develop your imagination about what’s possible, what the mind is able to imagine.

They are meant to push you.” Thierry Feuz is no ordinary artist. The Swiss painter eschews the notion that art is meant to make the viewer happy. His exhibition at Carbon 12 in Dubai Marina is like a psychotropic parallel universe.

The collection introduces microworlds and macrovisions. Paintings that are zoomed in show the microworld and include details such as amoeba in the background. By ‘zooming out, like in After the Rain, part of the macrovision theme, you could construe it as landscape or a miniscule piece of a microworld painting blown up. It’s like looking through multi-coloured x-ray glasses finding a deeper understanding of nature. “I reinvent the world and re-enchant the environment. I’m presenting a type of world you’ve never seen,” grins Feuz.

It’s a very abstract way of seeing the world. “I’m not working on something floral or organic, for me it’s a kind of metaphor of life and death and what’s in between.” He is known for his abstract technique, for capturing nature, the cosmos and themes such as evolution and metaphysics. He translates this into a style that pleases and challenges at the same time. But it’s not all planned to perfection. “Accidents happen a lot in my paintings and these accidents help me find new ways, first compositions and a bigger picture vocabulary.”

In his macrovision, stripes and fusions of colour combine with coats of lacquer to create a glow. It’s an inviting fuzzy vortex that pulls you in and bombs your eyes with movement. If you think it’s too much to look at for long periods, you’ve entered Feuz’s everyday life. “My eyes are floating because I have nystagmus so I have lost my own auto focus. If you look at those kind of paintings it makes our eyes go crazy and the vision is a little bit like how I live; like nothing is stable.” Physiological nystagmus is a form of involuntary eye movement of the vestibulo-ocular reflex and causes the eye to alternate between smooth and sporadic eye movements.

His condition never made him doubt his calling. The son of an opera singer mother and amateur painter father, Feuz always knew he wanted to paint. “My only thought was that it’s impossible to be (a painter) because family friends were artists and painters and it was hard for them to make a living from it. I told my parents I want to do it so they said if you want to do it, try, but it’s really difficult so maybe do something else instead. But in the end I did what I wanted to do.”

Feuz draws a lot from the 19th century Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. These painters tried to reform art by rejecting mechanistic approaches and confines. Feuz says he also takes from every experience and reflects it in his work. Although he reads about nature, that’s not where art comes from. “In general, art is made not of that which is direct.” His unconscious takes in experiences and makes him interpret life and art differently. He feels that Dubai will nestle in his subconscious and create themes that will be shown in later work. “I would say the beauty (of Dubai) is in the artificiality of the city. You have the impression that it’s not made for humans, it’s made for magazines, architectural digests and you have the feeling they try to do something perfect in terms of architecture and master plans.”

Like Dubai, art has been highly commercialised. Feuz explains how this has helped art and artists. “Today, artists, especially in western countries, are more and more visible. Only the elite were supposed to go to art openings or big art events. Now the scene is more democratic and people from all horizons can appreciate art.”

If you visit Carbon 12 Gallery to view his work, take his advice with you: “I want you to have an easy approach but if you look longer, you can reflect about your soul. You can find positive energy in the colours, composition and balance them into a good mood. It’s a way to see nature and the world around us in a very different way.”

Microworlds and Macrovisions is being held at Carbon 12 in Dubai Marina until March 31.
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