Structure of Life

Artist: Claudia Comte

Year: 2021
Material/Technique: Acrylic wall painting
Dimensions: 56 m x 21 m

Structure of Life is a wall painting created especially for the west facing facade of the Novartis building. The unique wall is 56m high and 21 m wide and has a central panel that sits in relief providing a three-dimensional quality to the surface. Depending on where one views the wall painting the relief distorts the painting expanding the various ways one might interpret the image.

While the patterns Comte creates are generated digitally, they always originate from something preexisting in nature. Structure of Life incorporates a variety of visual references that coalesce in surprising ways. The undulating and dissipating curves recall ripples in water, and the sonar frequencies created by whale song. The title of the work, Structure of Life, refers directly to a helix pattern and molecular geometry more broadly. When viewing the wall painting from the side of the building the central pattern distorts part of the pattern creating an illusion, as if the curved lines were in fact intersecting like a double helix.

Structure of Life creates a visual vibration on the surface of the Novartis building; the vibration is imagined. The artist wanted to provoke a visceral reaction in the viewer through the illusion, rhythm and vibration inherent in a pattern. Alluding to the continuous metamorphosis of life, her work transforms the façade into vibrant environments that immerse the viewer in an experience of fluid belonging. The mimetic and immersive work expresses a paradigmatic way of being in the world: it does not separate the subject from the contemplated object, but by privileging development on the surface, becomes the space itself, offering the spectator a participatory experience and contemplation of the transmutations of the world. By working with the architecture, the painting acts like a skin on the wall, in harmony with the total environment.


Claudia Comte ( Morges 1983-) is a Swiss artist. Comte studied at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, ECAL (2004-2007) followed by a Masters of Art in Science of Education at Haute Ecole Pédagogique, Visual Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (2008-2010). Her body of work is best known for her site-specific installations. Comte's minimalist approach to art making is equal parts methodical and dynamic; works are infused with a distinct sense of playfulness. Her artistic output incorporates a diverse range of mediums from sculpture, to painting, to various multimedia installations.

Claudia Comte has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions including; After Nature, Museo Nacional Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid (2021), Jungle and Corals, König Galerie, Berlin (2021), The Sea of Darkness, Kunstraum Dornbirn (2020); How to Grow and Still Stay the Same Shape, Castello di Rivoli (2019), Fruits and Jungle, König Galerie, London (2019), I have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees, Copenhagen Contemporary (2019), The Morphing Scallops, Gladstone Gallery, 24th St, New York City (2019), Zigzags and Diagonals, MOCA Cleveland (2018), Swiss Performance Now, Kunsthalle Basel (2018), KölnSkulpture #9, Köln (2017), La Ligne Claire, Basement Roma (2017), NOW I WON, Messeplatz, Art Basel (2017), 10 Rooms, 40 Walls, 1059 m2, Kunstmuseum Luzern (2017), Desert X, Palm Springs, Catch The Tail By The Tiger, König Galerie, Berlin (2016), The Language of Things, with the Public Art Fund, New York (2016), NO MELON NO LEMON, Gladstone Gallery, New York (2015), Easy Heavy III, Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2014), Sharp Sharp at David Dale Gallery, Glasgow (2014), If I were a rabbit, where would I keep my gloves?, BolteLang (2013) and Elevation 1049, Gstaad (2013).