Svenja SCHÜFFLER

(Kassel 1972)

Five Eyes 3 (Caligo)

Pastel on paper; the outlines silhouetted, cut out and mounted in a display box.
Signed and dated S. Schüffler 2015 at the lower right of the backing board.
110 x 178 mm. (4 3/8 x 7 in.) at greatest dimensions.
322 x 322 mm. (12 5/8 x 12 5/8 in.) [box]
Five Eyes 3 (Caligo) is part of a small series of compositions by Schüffler depicting butterflies or moths, drawn in coloured chalks and painstakingly silhouetted, dating from 2015. As has been noted of her works of this type, ‘In terms of their great focus on detail and precision, these scratched pastel chalk drawings are characteristic of Svenja Schüffler‘s artistic creation. They are the result of a meticulous work process with a magnifying glass that may take up to a few weeks or even months.’ 
 
Furthermore, as noted in the accompanying text to a recent exhibition of her work, in which several examples from the artist’s Five Eyes series were included, ‘Enabled by tools that are surgical in nature, Svenja Schüffler creates exquisite networks of linear patterns on paper. These delicate structures serve as foundations for subsequent drawing in pastel chalks, simultaneously subtle and precise. Ms. Schüffler further enhances her imagery through confident use of a diverse mix of techniques, such as gilding, frottage, airbrush and assemblage. The resulting effect of these layered drawings is a stunning richness of detail, coupled with the illusion – and at times, the reality – of sculptural dimension. The sensitive viewer is thereby offered a wealth of visual stimuli to feast upon, along with the opportunity to question the certainties of their perceptions.’

The owl butterfly (the genus Caligo) is known for the large eyespots on its wings, which resemble the eyes of owls. Native to the rain forests of Central and South America, the owl butterfly can grow to quite a large size - between 65 and 200 mm. - and can fly only a short distance at a time. It has been suggested that the eye-like markings on its wings serve to deter predators, who would be frightened away by what may appear to be the ‘eyes’ of a lizard or amphibian.
 
Born in Kassel in 1972, Svenja Schüffler earned an undergraduate degree in Geology in Darmstadt and Havana, and a postgraduate degree in Geographic Information Science and Systems. Her artistic projects are informed by her background in geosciences, and focused on topics related to human and earth sciences; her work intersects academia and art. She has had many gallery exhibitions in Berlin and across Germany, and has participated in several forums exploring the interrelationships of science and art. After working in Cuba and Spain, Svenja Schüffler has lived and worked in Berlin since 2011.

Svenja SCHÜFFLER

Five Eyes 3 (Caligo)