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Abstract floral painting with lemons on black cover with Sense of Science. Barbara Ellmerer in orange font

Barbara Ellmerer. Sense of Science


By (author) Laura Corman
By (author) Nadine Olonetzky


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  • First major monograph on Swiss painter Barbara Ellmerer 
  • Presents Ellmerer’s work from 2010 to 2020 
  • Features numerous large-format plates as well as details from paintings that make exemplify Ellmerer’s representation of scientific processes in her paintings
  • Text in English and German
Full Description

When an apple falls to the ground, we see the effect of gravity. Yet not all laws of nature are as apparent. Swiss artist Barbara Ellmerer uses invisible principles of physics, biology, and cosmology as her starting point and translates them into paintings. She sends us into the realm of colours and shapes in which forces, movements, and processes from nature are synonymously realised and palpable. Ellmerer thereby also captures something inexplicable, which reminds us of how steeped in wonder the world still is.

Barbara Ellmerer – Sense of Science presents a selection of oil paintings and works on paper created by the artist between 2010 and 2020. Ellmerer’s sometimes large-format pictures are shown both in full as well as in enlarged details to show the intricacies of her brush stroke, colour qualities, surfaces, depths, movements, and emphases. This combination also makes productive use of the migration of media – from painting to photography – and its reproduction in the book. In an accompanying essay, Laura Corman, a quantum physicist, explains how Ellmerer’s art relates to natural science. A contribution by Nadine Olonetzky, culture journalist and photo expert, describes art’s capabilities of rendering invisible processes comprehensible.

Text in English and German.

About the Author

Barbara Ellmerer, born 1956 studied at the F+F School of Art and Design in Zurich and at Berlin’s University of the Arts. After extended stays in Spain, Italy, New York, and Delhi, she now lives and works in Zurich. 

Laura Corman, born 1988, is a French physicist who has been working in fundamental research at ENS Paris and ETH Zurich. She now works as an engineer with at X-Rite Europe in Switzerland and contributes to popularising science.

Nadine Olonetzky is a Zurich-based cultural journalist and photo expert, and an editor with Scheidegger & Spiess publishers.

Scheidegger & Spiess
12th Jul 2021
World excluding Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, United States, Canada, and Japan
335 mm x 235 mm
128 Pages
107 color, 2 b&w
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