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Heidi Bucher, Untitled (Herrenzimmer), ca. 1978, latex, cotton, 102 1/4 x 71 x 7 1/2".

Heidi Bucher

Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

Heidi Bucher, Untitled (Herrenzimmer), ca. 1978, latex, cotton, 102 1/4 x 71 x 7 1/2".

At first, it is almost impossible to understand Heidi Bucher’s work as anything other than an utter dematerialization of the buildings that provided the literal framework for her practice. The Swiss artist was best known during her lifetime (1926–1993) for the pieces she described as “skinnings” (Häutungs): sheer, milky casts of walls, floors, and ceilings, made from latex and gauze or other fabric. Untitled (Herrenzimmer), for example, the undated work likely made between 1977 and 1979 that is the focal point of Bucher’s current show at the Swiss Institute, is a cast of the study of her parents’ house, presented as three panels (the room’s fourth wall, originally also part of the piece, has been lost) suspended from the ceiling in a U-shaped configuration and hovering a few inches from the floor. These wispy surfaces confront the viewer with a bewildering lightness. While the

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