1,656 m3

At the end of 2015, Iris Brodbeck worked for one month at a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece, and returned to Switzerland deeply affected by the experience. The way that refugees were treated and harassed by the police and local populations led her to a stark realisation, which was the inspiration for her work. More
specifically, it is the sale of life-jackets made of poor quality material – a real money-spinner for local companies – which the artist is criticising in 1,656m3. These life-jackets, rather than keeping the drowning person afloat, drag them beneath the waves.

The installation is composed of an aquarium, with two sides made of wood and the other two of glass. The blue colour of the inside of the planks of wood and the tonne of water contained in the aquarium symbolise the power of the sea and the limited options available to the migrants, who have no choice but to endure the situation they are in.

Iris Brodbeck

Born in 1992, in Swiss.
Graduated from the FHNW, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst | The School of Art and Design of Basel, Swiss.

Since some of her nearest and dearest are artists themselves, Iris Brodbeck has been in touch with art since her childhood, albeit subconsciously. It was at primary school that she discovered her attraction to art through sketching and watercolours. However, the health and social sector had a greater hold over her and she went on to study professional healthcare at a hospital. Afterwards, she felt a yearning to get in touch with her artistic side once more. In art, she discovered a calming influence and a unique means of expression. In order to give more freedom to this new form of expression, she decided to take up art studies. In 2015, she started preparatory classes with a specialisation in silkscreen printing and photography at the Schule für Gestaltung und Kunst Bern und Biel (Switzerland). She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst FHNW in Basel (Switzerland).

Although there is no specific common thread connecting Iris Brodbeck’s work, each of her pieces is based on a theme which interests her in day-to-day life, whether it be politics, society, or other such issues. She uses art to translate and express her concerns in her own language. She does not focus on any one specific technique, but her hands are her main tool and allow her to build and create her unique pieces. The artist attaches great importance to creating all of her work herself and continually acquiring new expertise. Until now, she has mainly concentrated on wood and clay: she has a particular passion for natural materials. This interest is especially clear in her work Die Jahre genommen (The stolen years), a 40-minute video documenting the uprooting of a tree trunk from its natural habitat, its transportation to the city and its transformation: it is compressed then hollowed out, its bark separated from its core.

In 2016 and 2017, Iris Brodbeck took part in the annual exhibition organised by her school, the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Basel. During 2016, she also created a performance entitled Trough your eyes in her institution: with a musical and textual backdrop, and an interplay of light and shade, the silhouettes of Iris and her partner danced and intermingled.