Nikola Zaric


We have an obsession to have it all. If we have the city, we insist on having the mountain as well. If we are the masters of the peaks and the keepers of the history of pastures, we demand for the very best of hi-tech and urban.  We are adapting hybrids to our mutating environment and our insatiable appetites. The ‘Hombouquetin au costard rouge (Ibexman in a red suit) is one such avatar : the meeting between Homo hyper urbanus and his mountain dweller fantasy. 

From the top of his roundabout, hands in pockets, he looks through half-mocking, half-benevolent eyes at the carrousel of the socially mobile on the square of a globalized village.

Nikola Zaric was born in 1961 in Martigny, of a Swiss mother and a Serb father. After four years spent in Yugoslavia, the family immigrated to Holland before settling back in Switzerland. In 1993 he graduated from the Geneva Art School after achieving a degree in Forestry Sciences in Zurich. Meanwhile, he spent half a century of summer and winter holidays in Verbier, forging a strong link to the mountain environment.

Zaric’s sculptures fuse humans and animals into each other. They appear as ancestral hieratic characters, yet with an intriguing spirit both classical and contemporary. The structured surfaces of his work along with the traces of the mould allows the observer to experience the ‘work in progress’ that was needed for the sculpture and the polychrome patinas give his work a sense of eternity.
My sculpture is a following of rites of transfiguration. The first is modelling to move the mass of clay, a raw material by nature, into a figure. The second is moulding, creating the sarcophagus, which embraces the form thus materialising the empty surroundings. It’s the memory in the hollow of the mould that the cement will embrace and metamorphose like a chrysalis waiting for me, shaman-like, to extract it from its cocoon.
Magic wafts under the roof of the yurt studio. The dervishes are spinning their records; the skins tightened over the drums assure a cardio-spiritual monitoring. I cover my hands with clay, the entire body, like in a quest for fire, moves with the material. I knead, hit, add, lacerate, carve, scratch, stretch, cut and chisel: the figure appears. The form reached and following several spells, I plunge my hands into the immaculate white plaster, return to the figure and coat it, cover it, soon to extract it and leaving only the plaster in it’s spiritual envelope ready for it’s chromatic anointing. It’s in this structure that the exothermic fossilisation of the silicates and aluminates of lime will occur in the presence of base elements of air and water. Its solemn immersion, its purification of vapours and the application of essential oils will, not the least, complete its place on earth. –  Zaric 2012

Zaric lives and works in Lausanne.