This large-format artist's book (40 x 40 cm open) brings together graphic works by Claudia Comte. Mathematically structured like a Cartesian coordinate system, the publication folds and unfolds so that it can be read in four different ways. The book becomes a geometric play space in which to discover the many facets of Comte's visual identity.
This book is a sort of exhibition space in which things get pieced together one by one on its blank pages, whose confined space gives rise to a playful reduction of the artworks. The pictures narrate an idea, as in a cartoon, except that the graphic works here—which have inspired some of Claudia Comte's paintings, prints and murals—return from their three-dimensional existence to fit into the two-dimensional medium of the book. In the rigorous play of visual combinations and permutations, the planes, lines and squares occupy a metrical space—an absurdity that turns the book into a kind of two-dimensional sculpture.
This artist's book is mathematically structured like a Cartesian coordinate system. The horizontal x-axis (abscissa) divides each page into two planes, while the fold down the middle of the book forms the vertical (ordinate) y-axis. This partitioning of the large-format (40 x 40 cm) book produces four smaller squares on each spread.
The Cartesian coordinate system becomes a playful space in which Comte explores the possibilities of her sculptures and patterns as well as geometric operations such as translation, rotation, reflection and glide reflection. The resulting shapes change position, evolving into unique sculptures while remaining part of a larger pattern. They playfully evolve and revolve around the point of origin where the two axes meet, though always retaining their isometry. So the book can be read from all four sides: from the top and from the bottom, from the left and from the right.
Claudia Comte (born 1983 in Grancy, Switzerland) is an artist based in the countryside outside of Basel, Switzerland. She works between media, often combining sculptures or installation with wall paintings to create environments where works relate to each other with a visual rhythm that is both methodical and playful. Her work is defined by her interest in the memory of materials and by a careful observation of how the hand relates to different technologies. Claudia Comte has been invested in understanding the relationships between different forms of life. Materials do not only have a memory, but they also possess a knowledge about the environments they belong to. Marble entails the ocean, and life under water is crystallized and it would be inaccurate to see this material as hard, since it is liquid at its core. Wood "remembers" the climate conditions of the planet and the forest that embodies the thousands of symbiotic processes that allow air, energy, breathing, growing, food, shelter. Claudia Comte's work opens our view to environment, oxygen, the way the conditions of our planet modify the materials—in every pattern and object.
Comte was awarded the Swiss Art Award in 2014 and with the Kiefer Hablitzel Award in 2012. She got supported by the UBS Foundation for Contemporary Art (Switzerland) in 2012 and won the Kulturförderpreis by Alexander Clavel Stiftung (Riehen, Switzerland) in 2018.