November 13, 1974
Kerim Seiler (born 1974 in Bern) is a Swiss artist and architect.
Seiler began his studies in 1991 by completing a pre-course for the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich. Between 1993 and '95 he completed the degree course "Média Mixtes" at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Visuel Genève. From 1997 to 2002, under the tutelage of Prof. Bernhard Johannes Blume, he continued his education at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg. In 2011 he was awarded a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Architecture at ETH Zürich.
Initially the work of Kerim Seiler was characterized by two-dimensional, life-size paintings of ordinary city objects, such as park benches and ticket machines. He diversified into larger works such as colorful and inflatable molecule sculptures, a 250-meter-long permanent neon light installation at Zürich's central train station and his vaguely habitable brick structure Gulliver in Pfungen (2009). Appearing to maintain a classical view of harmony, Seiler has said that space and structure are key elements in his work. Elsewhere it is written, "With the alphabet lettering paradigm in mind, Kerim Seiler has fashioned a non-alphabet system that revolves around a letter that cannot be deployed in words, its existence merely inferred by other letters. It may fluidly receive or reject ornament, be layered or cloaked, snap open and release, or serve as a crouching mechanism."
His acclaimed 2014 habitable sculpture Relay (Situationist Space Program), exhibited at abc—art berlin contemporary, is a replica of his 2010 habitable sculpture of the same title on permanent display in Johannesburg, of which an earlier (2012) replica had been exhibited on the roof of Hotel Crystal in St. Moritz and at Grieder Contemporary in Zürich. Though his large-scale works often entail municipal (e.g., his 2014 building facade Iris at Rietpark, Zürich) or ecclesiastical (e.g., his prominent 2015 neon sculpture DIMETHYLTRYPTAMIN at the Roman Catholic Diocese / erstwhile Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg) collaboration, they are sometimes executed covertly and/or via agricultural machinery.
Seiler's comprehensive practice—installation, performance, sculpture, painting, drawing—has sought to dismantle boundaries between art, science and community. His energy and inventiveness, and consistently visceral, visually arresting work, have established him as a leading Swiss artist of his generation. His 3-volume compendium of writings, drawings and photographs Kerim in the Sky with Seiler was published in 2012 by Nieves.
Seiler’s work is exhibited worldwide, including in Moscow, Cairo, Zürich, New York, Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles and Johannesburg. He is represented by Grieder Contemporary in Berlin and Zürich, where he is also a key strategist in the rehabilitation of Cabaret Voltaire.
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- Seiler, K., "AKTION #35: 'Space is my Canvas'", Vimeo, Aug. 29, 2014.
- Anon., "Pop-up Garden Springs Up in Berlin", The Local, Aug. 18, 2014.
- Schiering, P., "The Salon as a Space of Possibilities", Salon Neucologne, May 2013.
- Anon., "Blickwechsel mit Kerim Seiler in Siegen", Kunstverein Siegen, Sept. 2010.
- Seiler, Kerim in the Sky with Seiler (Zürich: Nieves, 2012).
- Grieder Contemporary, Kerim Seiler, 2007-present.
- Paunić, N., "Cabaret Voltaire Securing its Future", Widewalls, Feb. 2016.