Photography on this page © Toni Dusek

Space has no argument

about the work of Florin Granwehr

Most viewers will encounter the work of Florin Granwehr (1942-2019) primarily in the outdoor spaces of Swiss cities and institutions, where over the years he has created a number of monumental exterior realisations. These his works are based on the precise technical realisation of sparingly elegant geometric poems. They are, however, only the tip of the iceberg of the artist's extensive oeuvre consisting of sets of more intimate objects, their working models and a series of drawings.

Florin Granwehr's sculptural work has gone through a series of phases and parallel lines of development, which, however, resulted in his characteristic rigorous geometric style as early as the 1980s. It was filled with a fascination with the combinatorics of forms and the representation of transmutations of logical relationships through spare dialogues in space of intersecting lines. The artist embarked on his years-long pilgrimage through the mathematical landscape of pure thought. Each of the thematic series of his works was in fact an analysis of one such spatial problem. While this focus on his strictly structured thought processes may in some ways recall the Minimalism of his contemporaries, just as his emphasis on the plasticity of forms is akin to other Concretist tendencies of the period, ultimately Granwehr remains a distinctly solitary artist whose creative vocabulary has built an almost spiritual aesthetic, leading viewers to alternative forms of exact sensibility.

But we cannot forget about other period-specific manifestations of Granwehr's work, whether it is the early, pre-war avantgarde influenced dynamic abstract forms of the 1960s or his long-standing dialogue with the paradigms of postmodernism, often dealing with architectural forms and archetypes. Indeed, Granwehr could not avoid these themes even in the realization of many of his often monumental works located in public space, which themselves often have the character of architecture.

Granwehr's extensive body of drawings is then an integral part of his plastic direction. Whether it is the spatially ambivalent and sometimes even playful individual drawings of the 1970s and 1980s, or the much more disciplined geometric exercises of the years that followed, which eventually led him to the monumental body of drawings included in the Theorem project.