Bernard Schobinger


diamond saw blades and cobalt wire
21 inches

For Senior Swiss artist Bernhard Schobinger makes wearable adornment a vehicle for expressing a critical voice. His themes are charged by unexpected and often witty choices in material and frequent use of found objects. This work, with its three asymmetrically hung crosses, evokes the long tradition of Christian art and objects, but Schobinger’s formal and material choices make it clear that other things are at stake than symbols of faith and belief. Visual tensions created by small deviations in shape, size and proportion of the individual elements in the chain, and the material contradictions of band saw blades studded with diamonds are typical gestures within his practice, and evidence of other concerns that undercut any too-specific religious interpretation. He writes, ‘The work does not exclude the relationship to the religious mystery, but does not want to focus on it.’ Diamonds and iron are culturally powerful materials, like and unlike the cross itself, and combined in this chain, ambiguous and suggestive. Schobinger concludes, ‘The mystical eludes a linguistic definition, as does the artwork.’ He received the Francoise van den Bosch award in 1998. His work has been widely published and critically discussed, and is represented in collections, including the MFA Boston; LACMA; the MFA Houston; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Victoria and Albert, London; and the National Gallery of Australia.