Aluminum plates, aluminum frame, paint
180 x 180 cm
Deepening Swiss Re's collection of the work of Sarah Ortmeyer, the artist has created an oversized chess-board mural on the wall adjacent to the stairwell on the 45th floor.
© 2017 Sarah Ortmeyer
Image copyright: Daniel Perez
For the past decade, Ortmeyer has immersed herself in research related to chess. The first official chess club was founded in Zurich, Switzerland and New York has been named the World's chess city for both the 20th and 21st centuries. Ortmeyer's painting for Swiss Re will be her largest GRANDMASTER series piece to date. In addition to the black squares on Ortmeyer's chessboards, her GRANDMASTER paintings contain hues of blue to grey, reflecting the various shades observed in the Zurich and New York skies.
Chess is a game in which the outcomes are limitless, infinite, and dramatized through a narrative of conquest. While chess is secular, it carries an inherently allegorical implication. When pieces fall, where do they go? Perhaps we could imagine pawns held in purgatory, rooks suspended in limbo, or Kings having descend into the depths. In Ortmeyer's latest body of work, the personification of heaven and hell is explored through the artist's affective relationship to the origin of painting, alongside iconography, universal language, and chess.
The panels on view depict two different types of atmospheres; the larger work appears like a humid summer day, the sun fighting to break through an overcast screen of clouds — the small blue piece appears crisp and weightless. In terms of scale, the chess panels relate as equally to sculpture as they do to painting, establishing the fundamental relationship between Ortmeyer's often monochromatic practice and her raw use of figuration to signify modes of image-based conversation.