Take Two for April 23, 2013

Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli reorganizes everyday life in 'The Art of the Clean Up'

Art Of The Clean Up

Laundry before.

Art Of The Clean Up

Laundry after.

Art Of The Clean Up

Alphabet soup before.

Art Of The Clean Up

Alphabet soup before.

Art Of The Clean Up

Tree branch before.

Art Of The Clean Up

Tree branch after.

Art Of The Clean Up

Ursus Wherli Before.

Art Of The Clean Up

Ursus Wherli after.


Some people are perfectly content living in an non-color-coded, non-alphebetized world, but not Swiss comedian and artist Ursus Wehrli. In his version of paradise, alphabet soup reads A to Z, bookstores are organized by color, and you'd never mix up the various hues in your laundry. 

His first book, “Tidying up Art,” took well-known paintings like Van Gogh's "Bedroom" and "cleaned them up" in a way. His latest work "The Art of Clean-Up, Life Made Neat and Tidy," reorders and reorganizes items of everyday life.

He joined Take Two to tell us  more about his motivation to organize the world and what he's hoping readers will take from his projects. 

Interview Highlights:

On what motivates him:
"I always like to look at things differently, in another way and to move things around. Sometimes you have an ordinary situation, or an ordinary object, or a picture, and if you move things around and if you look at it from a different point of view — for example if you tidy or clean it up — then it gives a whole new perspective. I always though that alphabet soup was a huge mess: either you just eat it, or you just go on and sort it alphabetically, and then it's much more fun to eat it afterwards!"

On what he did with his new book "The Art of the Cleanup":
"It's quite simple. It's a book about putting things in order, which of course might sound a bit boring at first glance, but I do photographs, and I put things in order you don't actually have to bring into order. For example, I take a bunch of flowers, and I sort the flowers by the stem, the blossoms, the petals, etc. With the new book, I devoted myself also to much bigger situations. For example, I tidied up a whole car park!"

On what he's trying to say through his work:
"I always try to not have too much of an intention or a purpose. I just like it if my work supports the fact that our world needs both chaos and order, I just think everything we look at in our life is in some kind of order, even if it's messy (that's another kind of order). I like to play between these two poles."


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