Ralph Bürgin occupies a singular position in the current Swiss art scene. Although he appears at first glance to be a conventional painter of figurative motifs in oil on canvas, it quickly becomes apparent that his images are surprising, disconcerting and impossible to categorise. Bürgin unabashedly appropriates from art history to make paintings that are entirely of their time, turns proportion and scale on its head, and combines styles, palettes and subject matter that are not easy to reconcile. Perhaps the most immediately evident aspect of Bürgin’s practice is his sense of affinity with a period in art in which the figure was distorted, extended and abstracted in the exploration of the relationship between form and emotion. He nurtures a love of early twentieth-century sculpture, especially the work of Henry Moore and Marino Marini, and acknowledges the inspiration of their re-interpretation of classical themes through modern concerns and techniques.
Felicity Lunn, 2019