Marlis Spielmann’s working method is characterized by an experimental and unbiased handling of materials and techniques. With needle and thread, scissors and paper, brush and palette, she creates works full of humor and depth. In her paper cuts, embroideries, paintings and objects the human figure is emphasized. Events in the surrounding environment, her own observations and experiences as well as images originating from the artist’s fantasy flow into one another.
With her small and large paper cuts – an artistic form that has been experiencing a renaissance in contemporary art since the 1990s – Spielmann traces the female attitude towards life. Moving away from folkloric subjects such as farmer or cows, the artist creates papercuts of girls with balloons, young women wearing summery red dresses and high heels or bare-bosomed blondes in suspenders, combining them with animals and plants. Due to the typical folding of the axes of symmetry of the paper cut, the figures hold hands and seem to dance joyfully. Each work is individually painted with acrylic, giving them a harmonious elegance and three-dimensional effect. The paper cuts thus arouse from afar associations with textile objects such as oriental carpets.
Spielmann continuously produces series of works. With Schönheits-OP (2017), which shows women with a Botox syringe or wrapped body parts, the artist uses blood-red thread on cotton to reflect pointedly the longing for a youthful appearance and the associated (fragile) feeling of happiness. In the group of works entitled Nachbarn (2009), which at first glance reminds the viewer of delicate pencil drawings but which is actually embroidery, Spielmann portrays neighbours, not in the present state, but as she imagines them as children. The figures seem dreamy and innocent. They recall childhood as a phase of light-heartedness. The image carrier of the series Mein Tagebuch (2013/2014) is extraordinary: Spielmann captures moments of everyday life on acrylic sponges with black puffy paint in a graphic way. The sponges are then baked in the oven to expose the drawn lines layer by layer with a kitchen knife.
Spielmann uses time-consuming techniques. Making paper cuts requires patience and a contemplative nature. With her works she provides a counterpoint to the hectic and fast-moving present, thereby encouraging the viewer to enjoy a visual pause.
Marlis Spielmann was born in 1953 in Buochs, Canton of St. Gallen. She began her artistic career attending courses at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich. In addition, she trained at the Internationale Sommerakademie für Bildende Kunst Salzburg and from 1998 to 2001 she studied fine arts at the F+F Schule für Kunst und Mediendesign in Zurich. Her works have been shown nationally and internationally at solo and group shows, lastly in spring 2018 within the Sino-Swiss-Art Exchange Exhibitionat Bobao Art Museum in Beijing and at Wenlin Art Museum in Kunming. She holds numerous grants and awards. Spielmann lives and works near Zurich.