Issue 46



Freewheeling Swiss duo Bastien Aubry and Dimitri Broquard make happily wonky ceramics and playfully grotesque sculptural forms via a process of accident by design.


Bastien Aubry and Dimitri Broquard like to smile a lot. Any discussion surrounding their work tends to result in a grin, an in-joke or a shifty sideways look. From Broquard, there’s talk of working with “excess information”, of creating “visual pollution”. Aubry muses, deadpan, on “perverted ceramics”, “twisted realities” and the idea of transforming a material usually considered “very special and noble” into “something you can screw into”. And there is laughter – plenty of it – as they sit shoulder-to-shoulder in their shared Zurich studio.

It’s little wonder. The pair have garnered a reputation by way of mutating and vandalising traditional artisan Swiss ceramics, creating perfectly symmetrical IKEA-like display environments and documenting their often farcically abject sculptures (a naive, life-size ceramic chainsaw glazed in pearly white, for one, or a pair of shackled hands that double as an incense holder and ashtray, for another) against modernistic 1980s interiors – glass coffee tables, vertical venetian blinds, shagpile, black leather and all.

“We love to try and create a contrast between good and bad taste,” offers Aubry at one point, his strong Swiss accent flitting jauntily from syllable to syllable. “It’s about making a contrast between interior design elements and our ceramic stuff, to try to play with these environments. It almost works as a test: you place your work in an environment to discover how it reacts, and if it’s too good…”

“It’s boring,” Broquard politely interrupts. “But it’s also a very pragmatic thing because when you work with ceramics, the objects... Subscribe to read this article in full

IMALENNOX STACMIACCA MelbourneMCA Roslyn Oxley Gallery