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Chrys Zumstien

Chrys Zumstein (*1980) is a visual artist. He studied fine arts at the F+F School of Art and Media Design in Zurich. In his work, he poses questions about life, humanity, reality and fantasy and scrutinizes them.

His works mainly comprise photography, image processing, drawing and painting, but he does not limit his work to individual techniques. His works are shown in exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad. He lives and works in Zurich.


Inspired by portraiture, I explore this genre in my work. To explore issues of identity, fragility, transience, stigmatization and culture. I like to mix realism with fantasy in my paintings. Working with photography and its various techniques lends itself perfectly to this. Because photography reflects reality, just as it can create new ones. The artworks are complex works in terms of image processing as well as composition and content.

Insects appear again and again in my pictures and become an integral part of them. In contrast to other animals, insects are rarely understood as individuals. This may be due to the fact that insects remain alien to humans despite sharing common habitats. They are not given names, are not tamed and rarely have a "personal" relationship with them. On the other hand, arthropods coexist closely with humans, eat the same food and have adapted perfectly to urban spaces. While humans are either phobic or fascinated by insects, they are seemingly unaffected by them. However, they sometimes regard humans as prey: mosquitoes suck our blood as long as we live, beetles eat our corpses. Beauty and ugliness are therefore closely related, as is the dichotomy between pest and wonder.

Thus, insects appear in the visual arts of many cultures and epochs as symbols of happiness, fertility or death. Images of insects function as apotropaic symbols, representing the human soul, demons or deities.