Yves Scherer is fascinated by the boundaries that separate and merge the public and private spheres of human interaction. Along with concepts such as reality, virtuality, fan fiction, alterity, and appropriation, the public and the personal are recurring themes in Scherer’s work. Thus, in some of his latest sculptures in painted aluminum, the artist transforms private moments and presents them as a public sculptural reality. As part of his ongoing lenticular series, Yves creates alternate realities for celebrities who belong to the public sphere of the “Hollywood star system,” which he integrates into his personal narrative. By playing with these themes and switching from one sphere to the other, Scherer shows the permeability between the two spheres, which ultimately influence each other: “I play with it in a certain way: I mix images I took on a family vacation with a photo Mario Sorrenti took of Kate Moss many years ago when they were lovers.”
Currently, Scherer is less interested in commercial shoots or advertising campaigns that serve as the basis for his narratives. However, when he began using the lenticular printing technique to create two-dimensional, moving images, he appropriated the work of well-known fashion photographers like Josh Olins and Vincent Peters, whose technique was impeccable and whose goal was to carefully frame and compose a controlled reality. Similarly, his earlier sculptures featured celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Kate Moss and Emma Watson in their public roles. The sculptures served as the basis for a fictional narrative about his relationships with these personalities, which were objectified.
This shift is noticeable. While Scherer’s sculptures in 2014 depicted a Greek-inspired nude female body with the face of Emma Watson, seven years later, in 2021, his sculptures have begun to depict everyday moments, such as a boy leaning over to pick a bouquet of flowers, a mother carrying her little girl, or a hand petting a cat. The sculptures of these new representations are anonymous models: they no longer depict the face of a famous person. “My most recent sculpture involves the relationship between two figures in one work. They often don’t show celebrities anymore, but certain archetypes like ‘the boy,’ ‘the mother,’ ‘the girl,’ and ‘the cat’ … the sculpture is less about one figure and more about the relationship between two figures within a sculpture.”
In his latest lenticular works, Scherer continues to use celebrity imagery, but differently. He now combines their portraits with natural and urban landscapes, colorful flowers, cute panda bears and modern architecture. So it’s not just about the lives of these people as celebrities, but about people who can live in an alternative reality where the world is beautiful, loving and peaceful. When asked about his interest in the lives of people from the star system, Scherer replied, “Although I’ve never been interested in glamour, I’ve always had a special interest in celebrity culture and Hollywood personalities…. America has shaped the cultural landscape so much in the last few decades that you always feel marginalized in Europe. That’s why I always thought I needed to look to the United States to understand what was actually ‘happening’ and interesting there.” For his lenticular works, Scherer has worked with the image of a limited number of people: from Monica Belluci to Laetitia Casta, Vincent Cassel, Scarlett Johansson, Kate Moss, Kirsten Stewart and Emma Watson. We asked him if he uses a specific method in selecting the personalities for each work, and he told us that there is none, but that “there is an explanation for the selection of each character.” They “are stars in various fields who serve as role models in the entertainment industry, providing us with stories, histories and characters that we can use as guides in our personal lives.”
Scherer moved to the U.S. eight years ago, and his interest in celebrity culture has changed since then. In his work, celebrity culture has become “less a personal interest than a tool or motif…. People always say celebrities are like normal people, and everyone thinks, ‘Yeah, but…’ And then, when you go to the same everyday environments and places [wie die Prominenten], you realize that they’re really just normal people. Hollywood is then only a sign”. However, through the construction of specific personalities and the subsequent creation of narratives and stories about their lives, such a star system becomes part of the social imaginary. And it is precisely because of this, because of the social and media reach of the entertainment industry, that Scherer appropriates the image of these celebrities. For the artist, Hollywood may only be the sign of an ordinary place – commonplace, says Scherer – but it is also a symbolic place where character constructions are fabricated for mass consumption.