Rémy Zaugg (born 1943 in Courgenay, died 2005 in Basel), was one of the most radical Swiss artists of our time. His works and writings are among the most profound reflections on our perception of the world. The image is a privileged platform for existential research by the artist since, in its spatial individualisation and immediate presence, it inevitably contributes to individual perception. The traditional status of the image as an exemplum in western culture virtually predestines it to throw light on general statements through concrete individual cases. Yet Rémy Zaugg's images, which give the non- mimetic medium of language the standing of an independent visual element, nevertheless refer to the impossibility of closing the gap between thought and sensuous perception. As Gerhard Mack wrote in his monograph on Rémy Zaugg, his pictures refer to this gap before which all processes of cognition and understanding can be no more than an approximation.
Throughout his forty-year career that began in the 1970s, Zaugg remained preoccupied with human perception. His paintings, works on paper, public sculpture, architectural design, curating and criticism explore how vision and consciousness are linked. He is best known for text-based paintings in various languages.
HOMMAGE at Mai 36 Galerie combines selected works from all the artist's creative stages and thus affords a specific view of his work. It throws light on the discussion about the conditions of the image and its perception in his early works, which direct the viewer's attention specifically to the individual elements of the image. The use of language serves primarily as a commentary and a means of analysis. The frequently paradox situation of the image in space, which can refer to something outside itself – for example in the series, dating from 1994, entitled NOT HERE – is just as much as a subject for reflection as the limits of its perceptibility in the group Tableau Aveugle 1986-1991). In the mid- 1980s, however, Rémy Zaugg tended to regard the image more and more frequently as a subject for linguistic articulation as well, a subject that entered into a dialogue with the viewer. In evocative speech- images of crystalline beauty, it challenges the viewer to engage in active participation in the constitution of the picture. In fact, this can lead to the inversion of the traditional relationship between the image and the viewer.
Zaugg has had solo exhibitions at Centre Georges Pompidou, Kunstmuseum Basel, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Berlin’s Nationalgalerie, and CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain in Bordeaux, among other institutions. His work has also been included in Documenta 7 as well as group exhibitions at venues such as Reina Sofia Madrid, The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Chicago’s MoCA, and Magasin III in Stockholm.
Questions of Perception, a comprehensive solo exhibition curated by Javier Hontoria, will be held at the Palacio de Velázquez by Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid in collaboration with Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen from March 31 through August 28, 2016