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Interview: Paul Husner

Gwen Pew talks to Paul Husner about his artwork

Artwork: Paul Husner
Arma IV

Swiss artist Paul Husner’s first love led him to his second. It started when his anthropologist wife, Tine, wanted to study the Batak culture in Sumatra. The couple arrived in 1983: ‘Tine to conduct her research, me to draw and paint,’ he tells us. It wasn’t long before the couple settled down in Ubud, Bali – and more than three decades later, Husner still spends his time capturing the beauty of the Island of the Gods.

‘The light in Bali has a remarkable quality that captivates me. It’s unlike light you can find anywhere else in the world,’ he says. ‘The light, to me, represents the spirit of the environment. I knew I was in a place that best allowed me to express myself.’

His oil paintings are characterised by their bright colours and bold lines; viewers can almost feel the tropical heat radiating from the canvas.

But they’re more than just pretty landscapes, Husner insists: ‘I do not view [Bali] as merely an exotic locale; it is a magnificent conduit whose light allows me to give form to colour, and composition to form. As an artist, I do not aspire to merely create things of beauty. I wish to faithfully represent the truth of my subject matter through analysis and a distillation of structures to their simplest form.’ 

Paul Husner on Bali is at One East Asia from Jul 9-29.

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