Peter Wüthrich’s work evolves around the solid, but precarious fabric “book”, which he uses for construction, colour, picture and lettering; like no other contemporary artist, Wüthrich has been working on the metamorphoses of the book with obsession and ease since the 1990’s. Following and developing his poetic of the “book”, his investigation may easily serve as additional reflection to the changes and questions in today’s media.
Since the early 1990’s, Peter Wüthrich’s work has focused exclusively on the medium of the book. In his numerous artistic investigations, Peter Wüthrich circumnavigates the obscure object of his desire. In doing so, the artist sees his books more than anything else as personalities, often open to a transformation into another form of reality. The series “Bookcovers or the real life of bookbutterflies”, dates from 2009-2012, when Peter Wüthrich was a resident artist at the French University of HEC, in Versailles. There he focused on the investigation of the transformation of books and their content and meaning, into bookbutterflies. Butterflies are a very important starting point for Wüthrich’s work. Fascinated by Vladimir Nabokov’s own “butterfly madness”, Wüthrich tried to re-enact the life the Russian American writer lived in the USA. Indeed, Nabokov’s passion for nature grew into a lifelong love and devotion, and in the late 50’s he became the world’s best-known lepidopterist-writer. As often described in his work, the butterfly symbolizes in a certain sense a “characterless” side of a person. Additionally, the butterlfly made a game of life’s transience. This are among the motivations that moved Wüthrich into cutting out a great number of “book butterflies” from numerous book covers. He then set the butterflies on flowers and bushes in various public parks in Paris, photographed them, creating the first series of “the real life of bookbutterflies”. For Wüthrich, these cut – out butterflies would return to their heroes as ghosts, and therefore he collected book covers from well-known authors, enlarged them, and then put the butterflies that he thought would fit on them. No longer just sitting on flowers, their “alter ego” lays on the book themselves. Thus, a circle was closed again, where the imagination of something impossible becomes reality. By doing so, Wüthrich attempts at creating some kind of new reality – his own reality…the necessity for communication. And again, books fly to new places, find new people, just as flying butterflies.
Of course, this series of works, gave birth to a number of (sub) series, such as the individual collections of book butterflies, or the office of Professor Nabokov, etc…, starting its own butterfly effect. Indeed, everything is interconnected, and everything has an effect on everything else, one thing leads inevitably to the other. And the references to great thinkers, which he appropriates, emphasizing the necessity for communication. And again, books fly to new places, find new people, just as flying butterflies.