Sylvain Brugier is a French artist currently based in Berlin, Germany. For 12 years he led the painting studio of Olafur Eliasson and before that worked as a painting assistant for Anselm Reyle. Born in the central French city of Brive-la-Gaillarde, Sylvain received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux. He came to Germany by way of Halle-Saale where he completed his Masters of Fine Arts and received a Post Master’s degree at the Hochschule für Kunst and Design Burg Giebichenstein.

Artist Statement

My current practice utilizes a three-dimensional oil painting technique as a tool to reinterpret the traditional understanding of landscape painting, questioning our increasingly vulnerable relationship to the environment. My ongoing series is titled Érème, an ancient term that defines the geographical zones rarely visited by humans. The artworks evoke something natural but unrecognizable. Rather than representing a place, the construction of the paintings is reminiscent of organic growth, the material ambiguous, simultaneously soft, fragile, and resilient like sedimentary rock.

This body of work arose from my encounter with Islamic stucco carvings during a visit to the Alhambra, I was captivated by their dichotomy. Although remarkable on their own, it appeared to me that the carvings were meant to capture sunlight, casting a calligraphy of shadows. Through deconstructing the traditional method of painting in layers by physically separating the material into individual fragments, I have translated this sculptural property into my work. The arborescent accumulation of these paint fragments creates an intermediary space which allows their colors to resonate off one another. Like the stucco carvings, my work reacts to varying exposure to light and leads the viewer to experience it from multiple angles. 

Throughout my career I have often returned to the work of the late Impressionists. They were among the first to recreate their subjective perception of light not through direct representation, but through considering the active optical capacity of their viewer. They applied colors side by side in a simultaneous contrast technique to achieve effects of intense color vibration. I iterate on this dialogue by proposing an extension to this method, recognizing that the colored shadows inherent to my paintings are a part of the painting process itself.

What results from my painting method is a heavy object, the summary of an abundance of paint, but there is an equal expanse of intermediary spaces, like woven bridges, leading towards the core. Hanging on a wall, they appear suspended, floating, concealing their true weight. My work consists of an ongoing dialectic, a constant seesaw between the oppositions that compose them: softness and resilience, weight and suspension, materiality and void, what’s visible and what’s hidden. The outer shell on display, but the whole is never revealed, tempting the viewer and emphasizing our inherent fascination for the inaccessible.


Complete Curriculum Vitae

Work and Education:

since 2023 : self-employed artist in Berlin
2010 - 2022 : Painting studio manager, Studio Olafur Eliasson
2008 - 2014 : Painter, Studio Anselm Reyle
Since 2008 : Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
2005-2008 : Post-master degree of Fine Arts, Meisterschüler
        Hochschule für Kunst und Design (HKD) Burg Giebichenstein, Halle/Saale, Germany
Prof. Ute Pleuger    
2002-2005 : Master of Fine Arts, Diplom für bildende Künste,
        HKD Burg Giebichenstein, Halle/Saale, Germany
1999-2002 : Bachelor of Fine Arts, Diplome National d‘Arts Plastiques,
        Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, France


RE:NATURE, Kunstquartier Bethanien - Projektraum, Berlin, Germany, April 2024
with Julie Beugin, Anina Brisolla, Julia Eichler, Lukasz Furs, Lukas Glinkowski, Olivier Masmonteil, Xuan Huy Nguyen, Barbara Prenka, SHIMURAbros, Tomislav Topic

POSITIONS Berlin Art Fair with SMUDAJESCHECK Gallery Munich, September 2023
with Wolfgang Flad, Lev Khesin

Jungle‘s Punch (This is...III), Gallery Kosmetiksalon Babette
Berlin, Germany, April 2017
Nichts als die Wahrheit, Art Foundation for State of Sachsen-Anhalt
Halle/Saale, Germany, May - June 2016
Burg 100 - 8 Positionen zu Malerei, Gallery Hermes, HKD Burg Giebichenstein
Halle/Saale, Germany, May 2015
Jagdsaison, Gallery Gloria Berlin
Berlin, Germany, March 2011
Der Stillstand ist eine Atempause, Off space Heterotope
Berlin, Germany, April 2011
Bloß keine Postkarten, gallery county Rügen
Putbus, Germany, January - April 2010
Neglected, Off Space for Contemporary Positions
Berlin, Germany, May 2010
Kunstgenerator, Art space Generator Hall
Viersen, Germany, Oktober 2009
Berliner Liste, Contemporary Art Fair
Berlin, Germany, September 2009 - art fair catalog -
Offenes Atelier, off space Heidestrasse
Berlin, Germany, September 2009
Cosmos, Jenaer Kunstverein
Jena, Germany, Februar 2009 - exhibition catalog -
All You Can Schenken, Gallery Dieschönestadt
Halle/Saale, Germany, November 2008
Les Français à Magdebourg III, French Consulate Magdeburg, Germany, October 2007