ich tier! (du mensch) – du tier! (ich mensch)

i animal! (you human) – you animal! (i human)

аз животно! (ти човек) – ти животно! (аз човек)

abrupt interspecies encounters


sabina baumann

Sabina Baumann: At Home Is Everywhere

Sabina Baumann: At Home Is Everywhere (Zuhause ist überall); drawing, 140 x 108 cm, 2010

Sabina Baumann: Bodies Spirits Landscape

Sabina Baumann: Bodies, Spirits, Landscape (Körper, Geister, Landschaft); drawing, 74 x 88 cm, 2010

Sabina Baumann: Swastika

Sabina Baumann: Swastika; sketch for a bigger drawing, 12 x 14 cm, 2010

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Sabina Baumann - At Home Is Everywhere & Bodies, Spirits, Landscape

Thinking in stereotypes is a hard habit to break. I am I, you are you, he is like that, she is different and it is mine. To this socially determined system of values and forms Sabina Baumann opposes her drawings and objects. Categories fail in the face of her dreamlike-bizarre stories and sceneries. Sabina Baumann's works juxtapose ostensibly incompatible worlds, depictions of the simultaneousness of the Other and thus a playground of fantastic notions.

At Home Is Everywhere (Zu Hause ist überall) is the title of one of the two drawings Sabina Baumann is exhibiting in the show Ich Tier! (Du Mensch) - Du Tier! (Ich Mensch). The title is a succinct comment on what is occurring there in a wide, barren landscape. Shooting out of the arid soil a male bodybuilder body stands out in the middle of the picture. With its muscles flexed to the point of bursting, it seems to come right out of a cheap action flic – a weighty load of a hero's body, the fist clenched as a sign of its strength and potency. If it were not for this ridiculous little head growing out of the torso. A wee bit idiotically it extends into the wide landscape – unsure where it came from and what is to become of it. And if it were not for the bugs buzzing around the body, which soon lead us to realize: Our husky is in fact a termite hill, the home of the insects flying and crawling thereabouts; the steely body is but the shell of an arduous ado. Sigmund Freud's statement: “The ego is not master in its own house” is reduced to absurdity in Sabina Baumann's drawing. There is this thing that we experience as an individual, as an organism, which does not have a uniquely defined self. With her figure, Sabina Baumann constructs an entirely own form of subjectivity, far from imposed entanglements of body and identity.

As our eyes wander over Sabina Baumann's other drawing we catch out three ghostlike heads as they impertinently peer over to the beefcake on their left. They could be men in the moon, cartoon characters or monsters, and grow out of a diffuse mass of rock or fog, which is identified as a body only through the protruding limbs. A muscular arm in a pose expressing victory, strength and masculinity aims into the nightly landscape. Pitiful in contrast is the skinny caricature of a leg that dangles stiff and bony below the arm! We can see (not just) according to the title Bodies, Spirits, Landscape (Körper, Geister, Landschaft), not however in distinction to each other in orderly roles, but blended to a hybrid mass. The skinny leg may stand for the worries of the Third World, the strong arm for the preponderance of Western civilization; the tiny paw on the side of the ghostly being builds a bridge to the animal world. The ghostheads cannot be assigned to a gender or ethnic group, let alone a body. In this allegorically imbued landscape Sabina Baumann brings together what is traditionally known to diverge: spirituality and politics, human and animal, rich and poor, spirit and body. Let us take it as a call to once again or finally perceive the world as a whole, as a contiguous organism defined by common traits rather than by difference.

Text by Yasmin Afschar; translation from German by code flow

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Sabina Baumann was born 1962 in Zug in Switzerland, and lives and works in Zurich. In 1987 to 1991 she studied Fine Arts at the Higher School of Design in Zurich (now ZHdK). Since 1992 she has worked as a freelance artist. As such she has exhibited on various occasions in Switzerland and abroad. In Switzerland for instance 1998 at Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau, 2000 at the Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève, 2002 at Fondation Beyeler, 2003 at Kunsthalle Zürich or 2007 at Shedhalle in Zürich. In 2010 Sabina Baumann's works will be shown in the context of the traveling exhibition „Voici un dessin suisse“ (Here's a Swiss Drawing) at the Musée Rath in Geneva and at the Swiss Institute New York. A catalog will accompanz the exhibition.

Abroad Sabina Baumann exhibited among other places in the following institutions: 1998 at the Espace de l‘Art Concret Mouans-Sartoux, France, 2000 at Kunsthalle Tirol and at Bonner Kunstverein, 2002 at Fondatione Pistoletto in Biella, and 2007 at the Center for Contemporary Art Plovdiv in Bulgaria and at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin.

Besides her individual exhibition activity and art production Sabina Baumann has time and again become active as an initiator and co-organizer or curator of various art and film projects. For instance in 1996 with the project “erotisch, aber indiskret” (erotic, but indiscreet), a series of events on art, feminism and pornography taking place over the course of a month, among other places at HSfGZ (now ZHdK), in the cinemas Xenix and Stüssihof and at the Shedhalle in Zurich. Since 2002, in collaboration with Karin Michalski from Berlin under the “label” Casual a variety of projects took place on the topic of gender and sexual identity, e.g., the experimental documentary film “Working on it” (2008, 50 min, CH/D).

Sabina Baumann was and is a member of various boards and juries and has received numerous art and film/video grants, like the foreign exchange scholarship of the city of Zurich in New York 1996/97 and that of the Aargauer Kuratorium in Berlin 2000. Since 2001 she has been a lecturer in sculpture at the F+F School of Art and Media Design in Zurich. 2006-08 she was a lecturer in art at the Haute École d'Art et de Design (HEAD) in Geneva and 2008/09 at the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK.

In 2009 a monographic catalog of Sabina Baumann's works of the last 22 years was published by Edition Fink on the occasion of the exhibition “It” („Es“) at Kunsthaus Langenthal.

Since 1995, Sabina Baumann has been represented by Galerie Mark Müller, Zürich.