Sarah Züst

(de/re) constructs
and structures space.

Having been born in Switzerland, and experiencing 3 years of
art education in the Netherlands, she developed a fascination
of how much the environment influences human beings, how we
perceive the space around us through our own body and how
we find orientation within the space.

Shaped by a previous education as a draughtsman and two
years of studying design at the University of Arts Zurich, both
previous educations are visible within her own art practice and
build the fundamentals within her interest in space (architecture), research (artistic research/field research), theory/philosophy
and her urge towards transdisciplinary exchanges.



ch: +4179 741 72 66
nl: +3162 737 79 18

New Studio in Rotterdam NL!
Künstler Lithografie 2014, Pro HorgenSarah ZüstDirekt bei Pro Horgen zu bestellen.
The roof of my childhood home Sculture / Installation - Sarah Züst, Rotterdam 2013Wood, Metall, Perspex, Tile“Even a minor event in the life of a child is an event of that child’s world and thus a world event” - Gaston BachelardThis abstract reconstruction refers to an architectonical detail of the roof of my childhood home in Switzerland. To make this artwork more understandable I would like to refer to the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard and his book called “Poetics of Space” in which he writes about the importance of the house and how our childhood home shapes us;“If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”Similary as Bachelard, I believe that the chief benefit of the house is its function as a shelter. Not only, but especially for a child. It is the first space that a child experiences and explores for an extended period of time.But while Bachelard calls the whole house a shelter, I believe that within this shelter, a child will learn to explore and search for it’s own personal space(s), a shelter within a shelter. My private shelter was directly under the gable (the center peak of the roof), in a loft bed just under the gable beam. The loft bed was used as a guest room, but for me it was my own personal ship on which I could read books and sail out into dreams and thoughts and had a glimpse through the tiny roof window into the wide open word.
The Window LedgeSculpture - Sarah Züst, Rotterdam 2013Wood, Perspex“If you look out into the world from the biggest window you’ve ever seen, does that mean you will look further into the world than you’ve ever looked before?”This abstract reconstruction refers to an architectonical detail I experienced on the 30th of June 2009 in Rotterdam. It shows the window ledge of my friends, Daan and Jeroen, who were living on the Westkruiskade. I have always felt drawn to window ledges, sitting on them and having the cosy feeling of the room behind you, but also being able to look out into the world has always made me feel comfortable. For some reason this particular window sticks in my mind. Maybe because it was one of the biggest window ledges I’ve ever seen (and sat on) up to that moment. Or maybe because I was impressed by the size of the windows in general in dutch architecture. Either way this memory remains strong because I was in very good company.
Epiphyten; An acoustic, visual and tactile perception of space through our own bodySound / Performance / Installation - Sarah Züst, Remise Zürich 2013
This art piece is inspired by the philosophical thoughts of Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty regarding the phenomenology of perception as well as an artistic field research that I had undergone at the CODARTS Dance Academy in Rotterdam NL.It is a site-specific artwork that got created especially for the group show EPIPHYTEN, that was held at the Remise between the 17th and the 20th of october 2013.To experience the perception of the space 6 ventilators got subtly placed in the exhibition space. The constant sound of the ventilators filled the space acoustically and got supported by the tactile perception of the circulated air.Due to the changing number of people moving through the exhibition, the acoustic and tactile perception of the space got changed.A certain choreography occured in which the visitor got transformed into the performative element of the art piece (the visual perception of the space) and therefore was consciously and/or unconsciously able to influence the perception of the space through their own body.Additionally a selection of art pieces, a threepart Publication and a sound piece that was recorded in the exhibition space got presented.
thank you witte de with center of contemporary art!
Drempelprijs 2013 - Rotterdam Fine Art Graduation Threshold Award 2013
The Sonic Architecture InstallationInstallation / Soundpiece - Sarah Züst, Rotterdam 2013Sarah Züst won with this art piece the Fine Art Graduation Threshold Award of the City of Rotterdam 2013The Sonic Architecture Installation can be seen as the outcome and connection between three points of interest;- Firstly, my artistic research at the Codarts Dance Academy (September 2012 - January 2013).- Secondly, the theoretical influences within the work and its fundamentals in the philosophical thoughts of the phenomenology of perception. - Lastely, my artworks that I made afterwards (Ferbuary - June 2013). My main theme is the perception of space through our own bodies and our orientation within certain spaces. Therefore I chose to construct an architecturally and sonically constructed installation that deals with the thought of a space within a space within a space ad infinitum.For the architecturally constructed space this means; The built space is a space within the studio space, the studio space is a space within the Codum building space, the Codum building space is a space within the city space of Rotterdam… (And the matryoshka-“russian dolls” construction- goes on  untill the universe and beyond). In the architecturally constructed space itself I have presented a wooden construction, based on the wood constructions that I made between February and June 2013. I want the active viewing participant to find themselves in an architectural model and therefore a space constructed in a way that it has a practical function as it holds the whole space together, but also a performative element, owing to the sound-piece. The viewers have to find their way through the structure aware that their movements will change their perception of the space around them. I decided to have the theme of a space within a space within a space ad infinitum as the narrative throughout the sonically constructed space of the sound piece. While the architecturally constructed space goes on and untill the end of the universe, the sound piece contains a more personal layer. It tells the story of my orientation points here in the Netherlands and therefore I created a sound recording of a walk from the built space within the studio to the endless space of the sea in The Hague. It takes the listeners on a 15minute journey through different spaces and gives a glimpse into my personal perception of the world. For the sound piece I chose to record with binaural microphones, which,  in my opinion provide the most natural recording technique and comes closest to our perception of sound. The two microphones, which are placed in the left and the right ear, allow the recorder to gather a directional recording through real life stereo listening. Therefore it enables the listener to exactly localize the recorded sound. This means that the audience has to listen to the sound-piece through headphones. It creates a further space for them in which they can move, experience and perceive with and through their own body, to find their own orientation within the sonically conducted space.
The Wood ConstructionsInstallation / Construction - Sarah Züst, Rotterdam 2013
One of the first works I made after writing the thesis were the wood constructions, representing abstract architecture models of my thought-structures.I tried to visualize the actual structural situations of my thoughts, in a way that the physical composition of the wooden structures was in harmony with the non-physical structure of my thought processes. Once created, I was experimenting with the possibilities/impossibilities of the fundamental physical laws of architecture, to consider the limit of every single construction. I found it interesting that the constructions started small and gradually  got bigger over time. My first construction being 10x6x8cm and the last 1.20x1.50x1.50cm.
Another Perception # 2Installation - Sarah Züst, Rotterdam 2013
Orientation in Space 2Interactive Art Piece - Sarah Züst, Rotterdam 2013Usually I work a lot with happenings in which I create situations/spaces as a sort of conceptual framework with the aim that the participants will fill these situations/spaces by their presence and their own conceptions. For “A temporary selection of an infinite process #01”-Exhibition I created a very subtle intervention by leaving a little chessboard in the room. While having the first move already set by myself before the opening started, I was hoping that during the exhibition it would catch someone’s attention and slowly the chessboard would create its own situation for itself;  my unknown opponent and I. I chose the game of chess because of its nature of being a space within a space, this can be understood when we look closer at how people play chess. A chess board has the magic to immediately take a chess player into an enclosed space of pure concentration. A space where the concentration shapes the orientation, and where through the awareness of the opponents’ orientation, tactical situations can be created.

“Chess is a very popular game and is widely accepted as one of the oldest games still played. Although it has a set of easily comprehensible rules, it requires a lot of practice to win against skilled opponents. This is because chess is a strongly strategy and tactically oriented game, without the amount of luck found in card or dice games. However, given that chess is still a game involving at least one human, blunders (mistakes in thinking/planning) do occur. Even so, chess is still a very fun game to play.Each player has control of one of two sets of colored pieces, referred to by the nominal color of their respective pieces, i.e., White or Black. White moves first and the players alternate turns, moving one piece per turn. To win, a player must use his pieces to create a situation where the opponent’s King is unable to avoid capture (a condition known as checkmate). Making a move is compulsory; it is not legal to “pass”, even when having to move is detrimental. Play continues until a King is checkmated or a stalemate occurs.”
Das BergpanoramaInstallation - Sarah Züst, Rotterdam 2013If everything that you come across in life does shape you somehow (“Phenomenology of Perception”- by Maurice Merleau-Ponty), it is obvious that the environment that you grew up in does have a strong impact on you and your vision towards the world (“Thinking Architecture” by Peter Zumthor). As if our body is an archive of experiences and perceptions (may it be visually, acoustically or tactile) that we store within our bodies. Therefore everything we create is shaped by those experiences and perceptions. Being born in Switzerland, I certainly got shaped by the environment of the Alps. I’ve never been aware of that whilst living in Switzerland, but while being now in the Netherlands for the past two years I realised how defining the environment of the Alps is for me. While the social life, political and economical structures of those two countries isn’t very distinctive, the landscapes couldn’t be more diverse;on one hand the geographical formation of the alps arose 135 million years ago as a result of the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates. Therefore the inhabitation of Switzerland is formed by its natural landscape rather than the people’s intervention with nature. The geographical formation of the Netherlands on the other hand is relatively young and the inhabitation has formed and still forms the landscape. This information and thoughts gave me plenty of inspiration during the last few months to create artworks that were dealing with this awareness of being shaped by the environment. I first started with an artwork called “Das Bergpanorama”. An artificial (and originally meant to be an endless) mountain panorama created with photographs I took a few years ago whilst hiking in the Alps. When I was creating the artwork I was trying to get the essence of why the environment of the Alps has such a strong impact on me. I’ve never felt completely comfortable in the Netherlands, which probably has to do with the fact that the Alps formed me in a way that I’ve seen them (metaphorically and functionally) as my personal orientation points in space. They show me where I am and where I want to go. While here in the Netherlands I can’t find any of these natural orientation points. I am lost in boundless space.