Gallery INA DEDERER & FRIENDS
contemporary art gallery in the heart of Zurich
Born in Switzerland, Oliver Schibli, nicknamed Bubu since childhood, is the man behind the Bubu Collection, which features the distinctively patterned semi-abstract faces from his paintings and sculptures on clothes, accessories and even homeware. For Oliver, art and commerce have been linked since his earliest training as an artist. He began as an apprentice sign maker, where he learned both his distinctive graphic style, full of bold eye-catching patterns and colours, and an understanding of how design and business must work together.
Studying in Bern, he mastered the processes that would become a major part of his creative practice: working with gold leaf and screen-printing. Facing a dark time after his mother’s death, Oliver overcame an extended creative block before making the decision in 2014 to devote himself to art full-time. He spent a period of time in Thailand, even setting up his own gallery, before returning to Switzerland to focus on advancing his career.
Oliver’s screen-prints are often overlaid with gold leaf detailing but in his paintings it creates a different mood entirely. In works such as The Believer and Gangee, the artist covers the entire background of the image in leaf, giving the works an opulence that suggests luxury, but also lending them a tribal quality, like something from a forgotten Aztec tribe. For the artist, gold has a spiritual power “linked to masculine energy and the power of the sun”, as well as being an “optimistic and positive” material to match the whimsical figures that often feature in his work.
In his 2016 print series Kings & Queens, Oliver seems particularly inspired by Andy Warhol’s collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat, who even features in one of the works in the series. These prints are all about solidity and celebrity, suggesting a more modern version of the tribal graffiti marking. Oliver has staged several exhibitions of his work in Switzerland and was awarded the International Emerging Artist Award Dubai award in 2016 for Kings and Queens.