2021 — Visual Arts
Residency location: A4 Art Museum, Chengdu
Partner organization: TBD
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Niederhauser is a ceramist, designer, mycologist, visual artist, curator, and the co-founder of the artist-run space A-DASH in Athens, GR. She holds an MFA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins, London, UK (2014) and previously studied at the Applied Art School of Vevey, CH (2010). She is currently a Studio Director, at ALICE Lab (EPFL, Lausanne) and a ceramic design teacher at SFGB-B, Bern. She is a 2016- 2017-2019 recipient of Pro Helvetia Research Grants and Awards.
Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums and institutions such as: Milan Design Week; Swiss Design Awards 2019, Basel (CH); Raw Material Company, Dakar (SN); Documenta 14, Athens (GR); The Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Arts Council (UK); the MUDAC, Lausanne (CH); the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (UK); the MCBA, Lausanne (CH).
Niederhauser is fascinated with materials and their endless processes of transformation. Dancing across the blurred boundaries between art, craft and design, the visual propositions she develops engage with the symbolic embedded into materials and artifacts in relation to time and history.
“The research I aim to investigate evolves around processes of fermentation and ceramics. My aim is to understand how fermentation could change the materiality of ceramic. It is a process that allows the liveliness of fermentation and bacteria to inscribe themselves within the final result of sculptural pieces. Behind walls, located at the level of tree roots and moisture, humidity and fermentation are proliferating. You can’t see them, you can’t smell them. This world is there, nonetheless. I aim to create artistic research where the hidden aspects of nature, what is happening underneath and below the ground, is being magnified. What stands on the edge of the mainstream is appearing here under a new light. A research as an ode to the processes of transformation that aims to unfold as an invitation to cultivate curiosity about the unattractive matter.
I choose this residency due to China’s long tradition with ceramic. Various regions within the country still hold numerous potter studios with specific knowledge about ceramic and porcelain that are more than relevant for my research project. The specificity of my approach lays in extensive research that digs into past or present references, tools and processes. I end up diverting known technics in order to create new and ever-evolving materialities in order to design sculptural/functional elements.
My proposal lays at the intersection of design, craft, and science. It aims to investigate fermentation in the field of ceramic and material innovation. Its goal is to design with living systems and biology, in close collaboration with various local experts, craftsmen and individuals while investigating materials available on site. The project’s concept aims to combine existing skills and experiences in order to foster promising ideas around design, art, ecology, and sustainability. I believe that living organisms are the factories that build new designs in regards to contemporary challenges of resource scarcity and sustainability.”