Regula Dettwiler

regula dettwiler

"When we look at nature today, we look into a mirror."
Regula Dettwiler

about the work

Regula Dettwiler‘s imposing framed leaf formations are impressive, resembling giant-sized mutants. The Vienna-based Swiss artist assembles them from different herbarized – dried and pressed – plant leaves. With deliberate cut-outs, she creates new leaf creations, which in their outer form are reminiscent of inkblot pictures like the ones found in the Rorschach test. Their inner structure follows the biological- anatomical leaf structure, making them appear as a natural product of nature. Deception and reality are two essential aspects that play a crucial role in the works of Regula Dettwiler. Is our image of nature mere construction or projection? It is no coincidence that the artist refers to the unconscious as a projection surface for fears and longings with the formal reference to the Rorschach test, echoed in the title of the series of works A Song Sleeps in All Things. The uncanny and uncontrollable, which are also inherent aspects of sleep, are reinforced by the monstrous appearance of the leaves. But their porous, fragile nature also testifies to vulnerability and finitude. The work leaves behind an ambivalent feeling of insecurity, arising from the contrast between its naturalness and artificiality. What is a coincidence, what is manipulation? Just as dubiously ambiguous as evaluating a Rorschach test, the work resists attempts to interpret its multiform leaf shapes. With these pieces, Regula Dettwiler penetrates deep psychological layers and questions our relationship to nature.

Since the late 1990s, Regula has been working with the artificial aspects of nature, particularly with her watercolors in botanical identification pictures, plant collages, and spatial installations. Mass-produced products, such as plastic flowers from China or potted plants from the decoration department, are preferred objects of investigation in her practice allowing Dettwiler to explore the appropriation and cultivation of nature as a platform for control or embellishment.

curriculum vitae

Regula Dettwiler (* 1966 in Oberkulm, Aargau, Switzerland) works in the artistic fields of drawing, installation, sculpture, and art in public space. In her work, she deals with the human appropriation and construction of nature and elicits seemingly natural plant manifestations images, whose constructed-ness also has a profound psychological dimension. Nature thereby reveals itself “as a projection surface of human longings and fears.” She began her art studies at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. She continued them in 1991-96 with the sculptor Bruno Gironcoli at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Stays abroad and scholarships have taken her to Chicago, Paris, Montreal, and Japan, among other places. Regula Dettwiler lives in Vienna and Kleinriedenthal in Lower Austria. She has presented her work at Dom Museum Vienna, Ursulinenkirche Linz, Kunsthalle Bern, Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Kunsthaus Aarau, Neue Galerie in Graz, Kunstforum Austria in Tokyo and Warsaw, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, as well as at numerous artists‘ houses and art associations in Germany and Austria. She was also honored with various cultural and promotional awards, such as the “Art in Public Space” recognition award from Lower Austria,
the cultural promotion award from the Alexander Clavel Foundation, Basel, and an award from the Aargauer Kuratorium, Aarau, Switzerland.