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Swiss born with Russian descent, Boris Gratry is an interior designer and a scenographer exploring the boundaries of installative art. Earning his professional degree in Interior Design at the HEAD in Geneva, he followed with a bachelor of arts in Exhibition and Stage design from the Institute of Interior Design and Scenography in Basel (FHNW University of Applied Sciences & Arts, Switzerland). During his studies, he collaborated and led projects with “Group8″ Architects (Art Basel 2010, ICRC logistic complex). He was then hired at the international exhibition design studio in Stuttgart, Atelier Brückner,  in the competition department with projects such as Frankfurt’s BMW museum. He joined the Geneva Opera House as Assistant stage manager for Umberto Giordano‘s « Andrea Chenier » and Mozarts‘s « Abduction from the Seraglio ». Strongly influenced by the Arte Povera and the Post Minimalist movement, Boris Gratry in his artwork is looking for a primary aesthetic embodied in the fight against consumerism.


Opulence and decay find form in the sculptures of Swiss artist Boris Gratry, who works with car parts that are burned, rusted and  embellished with gold leaf. The resulting abstract compositions are reminiscent from acclaimed minimalist and “Arte Povera » artists such as Richard Serra and Mario Merz. Boris Gratry transform his materials by hosting large happenings during which automobile segments are set on fire and violently cooled with water, changing its form and preparing it to rust. Variations in temperature dictate the metals‘ initial coloration, which the artist then accentuates with gold leaf appliqué. In doing so, Boris Gratry opposes notions of polarities: beauty vs. brutality, attraction vs. repulsion, wealth vs. poverty. By transforming scrap metal into something precious, the artist performs a kind of alchemy, elevating his materials from the mundane to the extraordinary.

Technic & Aesthetic

Strongly influenced by Japanese culture, Boris Gratry’s art could be related to « Raku » Ceramic. Essential to the Japanese tea ceremony, this ancient technic involves temperature shock to transform the initial shape and materiality of the ceramic. The notion of organic improvisation in which the natural elements are at work to imprint colours and appreciated imperfection is essential in Gratry’s art. The « Raku » technic is imbedded in the « Wabi-Sabi” aesthetic, which literally means work of time: an art form related to the Zen philosophy leading to the acceptance of change. The alteration of time is perceived as a benefit where the beauty of the patina will add value and charisma to the work of art as well as a unique authenticity. Furthermore “Kinzugi”, meaning reparation with gold, is a ceramic technic developed at the end of the XV century to repair a broken artefact by gluing it with a join of gold. The golden scar is an emphasis for the passage of time, a rebirth as well as the beginning of a new cycle. By manipulating this technics an applying them to metal and consumerism icons such as car hoods, Boris Gratry opens a new path in the Wabi-sabi culture, redefining the notion of balance and beauty.


“Lacquerware decorated in gold is not something to be seen in a brilliant light, to be taken in at a single glance; it should be left in the dark, a part here and a part there picked up by a faint light. Its florid patterns recede into the darkness, conjuring in their stead an inexpressible aura of depth and mystery, of overtones but partly suggested. The sheen of the lacquer, set out in the night, reflects the wavering candlelight, announcing the drafts that find their way from time to time into the quiet room, luring one into a state of reverie. If the lacquer is taken away, much of the spell disappears from the dream world built by that strange light of candle and lamp, that wavering light beating the pulse of the night. Indeed the thin, impalpable, faltering light, picked up as though little rivers were running through the room, collecting little pools here and there, lacquers a pattern on the surface of the night itself.”

Junichiro Tanizaki
«In Praise of Shadows»
English translation: Thomas Harper
Leete‘s Island Books, 1977


Solo Shows

2018    CARTOGRAPHY, “Humanitart” Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland.
2017    LEGACY, « Espace L” Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland.
2016    LOST END, “Found” alternative artist collective, Geneva, Switzerland.
2015    HOLLYWOOD-FALLEN ANGELS, Hillurst Manoir, LA, USA.
2014    ASTEROID I LOVE U, Contemporary Art Bulding, Geneva, Switzerland.
2013    ALCHIMIE, JL Fine Art Gallery, Geneva Free Port, Switzerland.
2012    RUSTING VALUES, “Alternative” Graphic studio, Nuit des bains, Geneva, Switzerland.
2011     RUSTING TRADITION, “OuBien” Gallery , Geneva, Switzerland.
2011     ATOMIC IGLOO, Galerie 12 sur 12, Geneva, Switzerland.

Group Shows

2019    DESIGN MIAMI BASEL, Todd Merrill Studio, Miami ,USA.
2019    PAD LONDON, Todd Merrill Studio, London ,UK.
2019    EMPTHON’S SUMMER SHOW, Todd Merrill Studio, NYC, USA.
2014    THE AMERCICAN DREAM, New Garage, Geneva.
2014    EPHEMERE, Magnolia, Geneva.
2013    USINE GENEVOISE, Forde, Geneva.
2013    CHAYAN KHOY, New Garage Art space, Geneva.
2012    THE ARTIST, New Garage, Geneva.
2011    LAB PUKO, Taon, Geneva.
2011    DESIGN DAYS, Auditorium Arditi, Geneva.

Performance & Scenography

2014    ASTEROID I LOVE U, Contemporary Art Bulding, Geneva, Switzerland.
2011    ANDREA CHENIER, Opera House, Geneva, Switzerland.
2011    ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, Opera House, Geneva, Switzerland.
2010    STAHLBAUM, “Abundzu » music Festival, Davos, Switzerland.
2008    STAGING THE CITY, Scenografers’ Festival, Basel, Switzerland.
2006     ECLAT D‘ARTAUD, “T50″ theatre, Geneva, Switzerland.

Exhibition Design & Architecture

2013     GVA FREE PORT, JL Fine Art, Geneva, Switzerland.
2012     ART GENEVE, JL Fine Art, Geneva, Switzerland.
2010     ART BASEL, Group8 Architectes, Basel, Switzerland.
2010    SNHM, Atelier Brückner, Stuttgart, Germany.
2008    ICRC, Group8 Architectes, Geneva, Switzerland.


2006/09     FHNW-HGK, Academy of Art, Basel, Switzerland.
BACHELOR OF ART Interior Design & Scenography.
2002/06     HEAD, University for applied Arts, Geneva, Switzerland.
CFC Interior Designer.


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