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Schlieren - When the prophet goes to the mountain

When the prophet goes to the mountain

In his last exhibition on Turmplatz, Piero Maspoli looks back on half a lifetime of being a sculptor in Schlieren - and is looking forward to the future.

Piero Maspoli feels comfortable between his stone blocks. When he strokes through the sculptures arranged in groups and highlights individual ones, you have the feeling that he is introducing his friends to you. He himself would probably dismiss this picture as “too pathetic” - for him the sculptures are simply stones “crouching quietly on the floor”. And impress with their naturalness.

In general, Maspoli answers many questions with the explanation: "It's just the way it is." That doesn't mean that the sculptor is simply knitted. Rather, the representation of the matter of course is with him the concept. “There are certain laws in the world, a certain order, and as an artist I can't do much more than point them out and leave them to dialogue with the viewer,” he says.

After 27 years on the gasworks site, Maspoli is turning his back on Schlieren this year. “It's gotten too tight here for me. Space is limited and the floor is expensive. And it's getting even tighter, ”he says.

Maspoli, who was the first artist in the Zurich Sculptors' Working Group to work on the gasworks area in Schlieren from 1984, will in future primarily create sculptures at the Staad quarry.

In the course of his work, Maspoli has increasingly turned to larger objects. There is enough space for them in the quarry. There he has everything he needs; and the expensive transport and storage costs are eliminated, he says.

To do this, he can work at a pace that would be unimaginable in Schlieren. "In the quarry, I can take a stone, let it work on me, and if I don't like it, I can go to the next one," says the sculptor. "It's a gift for your head, heart - and wallet," he adds with a smile.

But it doesn’t go completely silent: On Friday, his farewell exhibition was opened in the club’s internal framework before it was presented to the public at the end of August. Until then, some things may still change in the installation. «Now I have to sit down and let everything work on me.

Then maybe there will also be more recent work, ”says Maspoli. Because the sculptures that have already been placed on the tower square are all older works that had previously been located in his outdoor studio on the gasworks area. “In my mind I have already let the sculptures through the stone shredder a few times. The oldest stones here are at least 25 years old ».

But for now the pieces are not only saved from the shredder, but also from oblivion. Kerim Steiner, himself a member of the working group and curator of Maspoli's exhibition, came up with the idea. For Steiner, the work represents “a kind of slow performance”: on the one hand, the stone blocks reflected a creative process spanning decades, while, on the other hand, the recourse to old materials and their rearrangement would develop a dynamic of their own.

When designing the exhibition, it was also important for Maspoli to finally enter into a creative dialogue with his colleagues from the Zurich Sculptors Working Group and to thematize the workplace on the gasworks area through his work. "What is the point of our work here, what holds us together, and what separates us from one another?" - These are the questions that preoccupy him with regard to his farewell.

His last exhibition on the gas works area is also an occasion for Maspoli to review the last 27 years of his work in Schlieren. «Every stone evokes memories. So I relive the entire time that I've worked here, ”he says. He may still remember the times when he worked alone on the site, in the midst of the empty buildings of the old gasworks and a lot of undeveloped land.

The tower square, on which the sculptures have been standing since this week, had previously served him as a temporary storage space for the metal containers that were in the center of Schlierem in 2008. These had caused great excitement in the population. “I think it was the rusty sheet metal that irritated people so much,” says Maspoli. “The 'up-and-coming city', where everything else shines and you want something modern and clean, obviously felt hurt by the rough material,” he adds.

The fact that Maspoli withdraws to a quieter place with his work also has to do with the concentration in Schlieren. “There is construction going on everywhere, and everything has to be made of glass or sheet metal. Anything that is not all around decorative has no place here ”, he points out. But it is precisely these developments that give his sculptures their special incentive: “In today's world, where fast and beautiful materials predominate, stone again develops a special power. He radiates naturalness and calm ». After his excursion into foreign material worlds during the container project, he was also happy to return to stone: “This is where I feel at home,” he says.

The fact that he will work in the quarry in the future is something of a homecoming for him. And anyway he realized a long time ago: “You have to go to the stone, you can't get it to yourself. That's just the way it is ».