Atelier Simon Heusser

Swiss artist Simon Heusser is mixing shiny orange paint with a spatula in his Zürich atelier. Bright yellow, deep blue, lush green: the colours he chooses exude a life-affirming vitality. It might come as a surprise given that his work’s focus is the changing climate we live in.

His latest series, Sea Ground Forest, began life last summer after he restored a boat that he took out onto the waters of Lake Zürich, where he observed the submerged algae. Having long been fascinated by the plants’ forms and compositions, in 2020, he learned about a US biotech firm that makes printing ink using algae pigments. “It’s the deepest black-blue and a fascinating colour to work with,” he says. It takes about two months for the layers to dry on paper, which also gives him time to think. “My thoughts go towards: what happens when the glaciers melt? Could this be a new habitat for algae?” Bringing both seas and peaks is rooted in his biography: while his father comes from Los Angeles, his mother is from the Grisons mountains of Switzerland. The artist himself studied art in Zürich, Basel and Stockholm.

Story by Myriam Zumbühl for Monocle