Davidson Contemporary is pleased to present Avalanche, an exhibition by Swiss artist Sophie Bouvier Ausländer. In this recent series, Bouvier Ausländer paintings use roadmaps – opened and unfolded – as surfaces which are then covered in bees wax and monochrome gouache; in turn that medium is etched into and scratched away to create a polychrome finished work.


Here paper maps are pointed to as fixed worldviews and the series reflect on the construction of the world. The folds of the map are visible through the gouache, but the maps themselves offer up only a hint of their original purpose; their usefulness is covered up and only partially revealed, leaving the viewer to yearn for more information.


That obfuscation of information is a key to Bouvier Ausländer’s Avalanche series. The avalanche is a violent and destructive force that erases the relief and its landscape by blanketing it fully as it both covers and tears away. The covering of the roads and landmarks renders the map useless, except as a foundation. Specific details become irrelevant, just as the artist’s handmade details become paramount. Fragments and peeks of the original intent are partially visible but, once isolated, increase in importance as a way to reference a bygone world, providing building blocks and raw materials for a new universe.


Sophie Bouvier Ausländer has studied at the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, Switzerland, the Ecole nationale supérieure d’arts visuels de la Cambre, Belgium, University of Arts, London, and is currently working towards her Ph.D from the Slade School of Fine Art, London. This is her first show with Davidson Contemporary, and her first show in the US. She lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.