Vivian Suter was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1949 and came to Basel with her family at the age of thirteen. Here she studied painting at the then Kunstgewerbeschule and exhibited regularly as a young artist. In 1982 she settled in Panajachel, Guatemala. The motivic reference to her subtropical surroundings has been evident in her work ever since.
After conceptual beginnings, expressive gestural paintings have been created since the early 1980s. In the beginning, Suter applied thick layers of paint to paper cut by hand, which she assembled collage-like into polygonal pictorial grounds. She later repeats this expressive formal language in her large-format paintings on canvas, some of which are intensely luminous and others earthy and natural. For several years, Suter has left her canvases unframed. When Tropical Storm Agatha flooded her camp with mud in 2010, Suter decides to leave these traces of nature as part of her paintings. In doing so, she breaks to some degree with the traditional notion of controlling authorship and allows external factors such as humidity, light, flora and fauna to become part of her painting. What is represented, the forces and structures of Guatemala's lush subtropical nature, together with the artist's painterly gesture, become the driving force of her paintings.
The system she developed to keep the loose canvases in the best possible condition in the climate of her adopted country is now also the way Suter exhibits her paintings: Canvases that hang from the ceiling at different heights, usually loosely distributed around the room. In her presentations, she also installs the canvases close together so that they overlap each other. The visitors thus literally walk through Suter's paintings and physically immerse themselves in an atmospherically dense work of forms, colors, and traces of the weather.
Note: This text was translated by machine translation software and not by a human translator. It may contain translation errors.