The work of Anna Zuber is outlined by a special characteristic – The use of gold to sublimate everyday life and reveal its poetic charm. Artsper goes over the work of this contemporary alchemist.
GOLD, A DEVELOPING BATH
« For of each thing I extract the quintessence,
You give me your mud and I have turned it into gold. »
The ending verse of the « Flowers of Evil », Baudelaire’s greatest work, is emblematic to the work of Anna Zuber. Just like the poet who turns the mud into gold, Anna Zuber exalts the blandness of everyday life by using gold. Having studied painting at the Academy of fine Art in Wroclaw (Poland) and serigraphy at the Academy if fine Art in Brussels (Belgium), she moves effortlessly between mediums, mixing photography, serigraphy, gilding and painting. Her fascination for gold and its symbolic power sets this material as the common thread to her work where she uses it to transfigure everyday life. In the style of Yves Klein, for whom gold represented a source of light able to infuse life, Anna Zuber uses golden leaves as a « living material » that brings back to life forgotten and neglected elements. Gold, says Klein, « suffuse the artwork and grants it eternal life ». Traditionally perceived as an unequivocal symbol of divinity and wealth that commands respect, gold is a developing bath for Anna Zuber, a beam of light that brings forward what the eye tends to ignore.
Yves Klein, Monogold sans titre (MG 4), ca. 1960, 16 x 12 cm, Courtesy of Yves Klein Archives.
GRAFFITI DE LUXE
Her series « Graffiti de luxe » is part of her reflexion on the public space. While Anna Zuber drops off golden thoughts on ceramic tiles in the streets of Brussels (in her series « Azulejos »), she undertakes here a symmetrically opposite approach where she attempts to internalize the public space. The artist collects the graffiti that we are used to ignore and immortalize them on golden panels. With a gaze filled with empathy and poetry, dazzled by the humanity that reeks of these forgotten walls, Anna Zuber transposes snippets of conversations on her precious golden leaves. By doing so, she questions not only the ubiquitous materialism of today’s society, but also our inability to see beauty when not associated to symbols of wealth and opulence.
Her series « Memories » is much more personal, and started from the observation that we tend to overlook the teachings of our personal history. For Anna Zuber, a permanent introspection is a driving power, as fragments of past lives make us who we are today. Even when painful, recollections of the past are an everlasting source of information that help us decrypt the future, move forward and be at peace with ourselves. Our memory, when on the lookout, make us aware of these moments that accumulate and give life its thickness. It enables us to delve into a profound introspection and be in touch with who we are, instead of giving in the immediate instinct of closing past chapters. By using gilding, Anna transforms elements of forgotten memories and ennobles them, magnifies them, makes them look precious. When facing these photographs of a past life, one cannot help but embrace past and present, in this dual state of mind, which chooses its liberty in what exalts one’s spirit and does not do no harm.
AN ALCHEMIST OF A NEW KIND
Anna Zuber is a contemporary alchemist. Weaving threads between reality and allegory, she sets herself as an intermediary between the exterior world and our conscience. By stripping down our memories, “of each thing she extracts the quintessence”. The alchemy that Anna operates is of a new kind, as she unveils new ways to comprehend of our life story that gleam in the shimmering reflection of the gilding. Her work is an open invitation to wander in the labyrinthine thought process of our consciousness, look at our life experience with open eyes and be aware of the stereotypes present in our society. Artsper is committed to keep a close eye on the aesthetic journey of Anna Zuber, this amazing young talent with a heart of gold.