Between Symbolic and Rational Thinking:
The Art of Dr Gindi
By Christiane Wagner
Even nowadays, the limits of art and knowledge are questioned, and discoveries enrich the “art of knowledge” even more in the face of the complexity of understanding the human being. The fact is that, by classifying and organizing it throughout history, knowledge, in and of itself, is becoming increasingly complex in its foundations, analysis, and conclusions. We, therefore, have to ask ourselves: How do we represent this complexity through art?
From abstractions to what becomes concrete and vice-versa, among so many terms and rational answers to questions, and especially when words are insufficient to express many feelings, Dr Gindi’s art can be considered an essential component of the answer. Between illusion and reality, the representative role of art and symbolization becomes an essential part of all human existence. Between figurative and abstract motifs, the forms of its perception represent many concepts, feelings, and situations fundamental to humankind, whether through mathematics, philosophy, even theology, and in art, which is the focus here.
For example, the concept of infinity, which has its deepest roots in mathematics, is perceived and materialized in three-dimensional forms. Infinity, for Dr Gindi, is beyond rational thought, as seen in her sculpture series Immanent Conception of Infinity. Other fundamental concepts of human existence are also part of her artistic work, ranging from reason to myth and symbolism. An example is the Interstellar Dilemma sculpture, which poses the question: “Is there such existence as matter without energy, and Earth without the divine?” Her works also represent various existential situations of everyday life, among them “overcoming the conventions of life” or even “torn between purpose and avolition.” For example, the sculpture The Fateful Choice, in all its bodily expressiveness—a predominant characteristic in the artist’s mastery of human anatomy—highlights the gesture and the decisive moment of the human condition. As if that were not enough, the question “How is trust being conceived?” is added. Nevertheless, with the mastery of her perception of the world of things and humans, Dr Gindi states, “I am an illusion changer.”
The term “illusion” derives from the Latin ludere, “to play.” Well, in our contemporary society, in the world of things, we experience a reality of appearances. The concrete form of the things consolidates this reality. Appearances are the shapes and forms of how things are presented. The dynamic that is established between appearances and the reality of the environment, in the conception of aesthetics, concerns the relationship between the artifact and the space, adding time when one experiences the sensation of having the possibility of seeing something, which is then understood, and finally distinguished and defined as something concrete. This process is how Dr Gindi changes the play—the illusion.
We should note that aesthetic experience is necessary for the artwork to be perceived. This is how we feel, understand and gain knowledge of the artifact—something, which until now, existed only as a concept. Only then, in Dr Gindi’s art, is it defined as something concrete. Reality is the illusion—in the dimension of appearances—that, in the sculptor’s words, “we are all bound together by the human question of origin and destiny.” Thus, through art, we can attribute that to the universe of appearances, in the dimension of time and space, offering the illusion of transformation and change. Nevertheless, that still conditions us to ask the same existential questions as our ancestors. Finally, to know more about this sculptor and her artistic work, I present a brief interview with Dr Gindi below.
Christiane Wagner: How are science and art present in your work? I think of your medical training and your path in the arts. But not only that, of course, because the main concepts in your art show your interest in science and knowledge, while at the same time questioning its limits. What are your views?
Dr. Gindi: When sculpting, I re-create the physical and psychical aspects of humanness, as in an open-ended anamnesis—the scientific inquiry into the frailty of being is key to my practice. Then, I augment that inquiry until it gives life and empathy to the materialized characters I am forming and—most importantly—until it reflects their yearning toward infinity. Looking for answers to complex problems is a common thread in science and art—I have been experiencing both pursuits as I was trained and worked as a medical doctor prior to graduating from art school. A hypothesis about the human body in medicine and in sculpture is falsifiable if it is clear that the visualization or an evaluation disproves the hypothesis in question. Just because something worked in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work in the future. My sculptures are more like emblematic nativities eternalized in bronze rather than the eternal circulation of old fallacies. The best physicians and sculptors are those who can take all the facts and make sense of them with an unending amount of rational thinking. There is one major difference between physicians and sculptors, though—sculptors, at least in my understanding, can add an empathic, symbolic, illusionary dimension to the creative process. In my own sculpting practice, for instance, I model characters at inflection points of life, often represented by actions and events that call for unbound infinity whilst calling into question the certainty of truth. My protagonists’ struggle to find intrinsic purpose is illustrated by an often oddly striking and almost always non-scientific stylistic idiom that might produce an unusual spatial experience. I adore the ephemeral, the eerie, and the quixotically ethereal.
CW: Which works or themes represent the most significant influence on your creations? I think mainly of the expressive power of your works based on human anatomy, as well as the masterpieces of sculptors such as Camille Claudel.
DG: When starting to study sculpture, I became inspired by 19th-century French realism, but—without much remorse—I soon discovered and became inclined towards the unfettered approach of Camille Claudel. In a rather natural vein, I moved further on and unlearned what I learned before, convinced that there should be no exemplars and rules at all. While always nurturing Claudel’s sanguine temperament and exuberant sensuality, I started to develop my own sculptural language. I embrace my works pragmatically, and yes, even naively. My practice is thus empirical and very often profoundly absurd—I am not afraid of idiosyncratic escapades if they need to be. If there is a logic, maybe it is Diogenes’ logic—as each of us has to choose his own alternative to reason when living in the tub emerged in the market of truths. I believe that our mind is not just an organ for utilitarian reasoning but also a symbolic instrument for creating illusions. As humanity is cloistered, polyhedral, and unpredictable, I am searching to understand what it means to be human within that infinite realm of being.
CW: We must consider that today the innovation and art universe are much more favorable for women artists. In this sense, how do your sculptures maintain a dialogue with the present time?
DG: Well, there have been many improvements to support women artists while acknowledging gender diversity and promoting gender equality. Still, biases continue to exist. To give you an example: a striking minority of museum acquisitions around the world are artworks created by women artists. I don’t want to complain. Women can grasp and create the opportunities for which they wish and need. Further, in my case, I have not come to grips with the maze of my gender, as I don’t understand myself as female-only—I consider myself an almost androgyne being. We all are androgyne, in one way or the other—we are human. Rather than concern myself with gender ideologies, I try to explore the chokepoints of female and male infinity. It shall all be one. Nevertheless, born as a female, I endeavor to live my own identity narrative by sketching the beauty, buoyancy, and unapologetic lustiness I believe all women deserve to experience.
CW: Artistic anatomy is fundamental to figurative creative knowledge. And undoubtedly, your sculptures evidence this quality. However, besides figuration, we perceive a high-quality abstract tendency in your sculptures. In this sense, abstractionism is a way to express art without the mimetic representations of reality, offering new aesthetic experiences. So, how do you define your art in terms of figuration and abstraction in the Immanent Conception of Infinity series?
DG: Most generally, my approach toward sculpting can be described as organic as I look into the symbiosis between the individual and their outer ambit. I do not want to see the individual split apart from this very ambit, as the individual is always an organic part of it. You might thus perceive my style as figurative, but my approach and inner self are perhaps much more complex than that. I cheerfully resist categorization. My practice is based on synthesis and a conviction of holistic unity embedded in illusions, without falling into the trap of merely incarnating reality—I will always cherish the singularity of us human beings with all our veritable wounds and abstract edges. My sculptures do thus not emphasize appearance and suggest that essence is to be found in appearance. Take Immanent Conception of Infinity as a telling example: A human figure reposes on the ground to explore the fabric of time and space, having neither beginning nor end. The spectator’s gaze might encounter abstract tracks here and there whilst almost intuitively sliding into floral figuration. Figurative art can be abstract, and abstract art can be figurative—that’s, for me, the secret of organicism. And yes, I am an organic sculptor who grows in the face of illusionary reality. That’s what I am.
Dr Gindi is one of Switzerland’s most acclaimed sculptors who works with clay and bronze. On the surface, her approach might be comparable to that of Camille Claudel, but the protagonists in the enthralling sculptures she creates can only spring from her imagination—they are the progenies of symbolic and concurrently rational thinking. Resisting attunement, she scarcely has a mainstream art career—she was originally educated as a medical doctor and worked as a physician prior to graduating from the Florence Academy of Art. Intrinsic to her artistic practice is the focus on the infinite aspects of human existence that she describes as the main thing worth attaining in life.
For complete artworks, and for more information, see her website: