Human faces have always fascinated me“ - Simon Berger asserts. It is this fascination with the face - the canvas of the soul - that lies at the heart of his artistic research which he translates into mesmerising portraits of great allure. Their power thereby resides not only in the expressive force of the sitter‘s eyes but moreover the artist’s material of choice. Glass, one of the hitherto undervalued media for creative endeavours, serves iwith its rich semantics as a starting point for a portraiture of unprecedented kind. The cracks and creases Simon Berger drives into the surface of his vitreous material resonate with the force of powerful incursion, thereby creating an echo that reverberates through the final image he carves and utlimately liberates from the depth of the glass pane. In its dichotomous nature - liquid and solid, transparent and opaque, fragile and strong - glass acts as an animated support for a new hyperrealistic portraiture. A material that lends itself to a double modality of being looked both at and through, it affords a subtle play with and allusion to the innumerable facets that constitute the human psyche and mind. Deemed one of the greatest - for impenetrable and hence unresolved - mysteries, the human condition is revealed in its fragile strength through the artist who virtuously exploits the transparency of the glass pane by daring a glance ‘beyond painting‘. The human face, the most elaborate of all masks, emerges inadvertently in a form of anti- creation, coming into being through the shattering stroke of Simon Berger‘s bold artistic gesture. By this revolutionary creative act, modes of seeing and perceiving are questioned as the image constantly hovers between disintegration and reconstitution, intrinsically bound to the viewer‘s perspective. The perceptual challenge Simon Berger confronts the beholder with proves integral to his work, a reversal of common habits of looking rooted in a tradition of the ‘static‘ picture. Instead, his are portraits whose dynamic nature speaks to an aesthetic phenomenology in the perception of art that lives by the concrete, physical experience of the glass canvas. “The artwork is present“, the (new) adage goes. A presence whose seductive force intimately ties beholder to beheld as the vitreous surface turns into a mirror for the viewer to project themselves.
Text by Sandrine Welte.