Ernest Daetwyler: Inside out
Ernest Daetwyler was born in Zofingen, Switzerland in 1964. Ernest immigrated to Canada in 1995. He lives and works in the countryside near Stratford, Ontario. Ernest studied art at the Schule fuer Gestaltung, Bern, the Centro Europeo in Venice, Italy and received his master’s diploma from the Schule fuer Gestaltung, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Ernest’s concept-based multidisciplinary work ranges from drawing, painting, sculptural work using natural materials to interactive installations and video projections. Often his work is produced outdoors using organic and manmade materials and is often site – specific.
Reality in Reverse (Barn Raising) is an example of Daetwyler's ongoing interest in ambitious public art interventions that focus on the relationship between social traditions and societal uncertainty. Daetwyler's sculpture and installations have relied on the abduction of abandoned and/or recycled materials or spaces in structural transition or decomposition. In Reality in Reverse (barn-raising), Ernest located and dismantled, then rebuilt an old barn inside an art gallery. Working in collaboration with team of Mennonite barn raisers, Daetwyler used the barn materials to rebuild the barn inside the gallery. Ernest filmed the old barn as it fell. The rebuilt barn inside the gallery is a reflection of the economic and ecologic challenges faced by society.
In Ice Follies, Ernest created several large (as big as 8 feet) transparent bubbles on the ice. The bubbles, each with different diameters, were placed sporadically on a lake and were made of transparent bubble wrap. A small platform inside the bubble provided a seat for visitors to sit on. A light source incorporated in the ice bubbles indicated the idea of dreams being caught within each bubble.
Daetwyler developed the idea of a temporary transitional living environment in the outdoor installation Sugar Sweet Safety Bubbles (in 2005), which was created for “Sampler,” the second KW Biennial in Kitchener Ontario. Using plastic bubble-wrap pillows and blankets, the plastic outdoor shelters recreated the primal organic feeling of safety in the womb. The video component of the work depicted the artist creating one of the plastic spheres from the inside out. The audio installation, which reacted to motion detectors from visitors, played the heartbeat of an embryo.
Ernest’s current and upcoming exhibitions include projects at Artspace, Peterborough, Gallery Stratford, the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, and international projects in Argentina and Germany.
Ernest is a director/founding member of CAFKA, the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area, an international artist-run biennial of contemporary art projects in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario.
By Melissa Montgomery