Visiting Lecture | Raphael Hefti: How to Deal with Salutary Failures

Tuesday, March 12, 2024, 6:30 - 8:30pm

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Image courtesy of Raphael Hefti

This event will be conducted in-person in room 315F and through Zoom. 

For Zoom attendance, please register in advance here.

This presentation will lead a reflective discussion about mistakes and failures in the process of 'making'. Despite the frustration they may evoke, failures hold immense potential for discovering new materials and venturing into uncharted technical realms leading to the 'nirvana' of unexpected material encounters

Raphael Hefti’s experimental approach to sculpture is fueled by a fascination with industrial and postindustrial processes, which he appropriates, reverses, and at times even explodes. His intense dialogue with industries and specialists exposes inherent material truths underlying conventional processes. Operating somewhere between desecration and veneration, his unexpected sculptures evoke ambiguity between the natural and the industrial, abstraction and objectivity. Material essence is celebrated by reaching beyond technical purpose, often under the light of Murphy’s Law. Hefti was born in 1978 in Switzerland, and grew up in Biel/Bienne. He completed an apprenticeship as an electronics engineer and then studied at the École cantonale d’art de Lausanne and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. He has had exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam), Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles, Nottingham Contemporary, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Camden Art Centre in London.

The in-person event is open to current Cooper Union students, faculty, and staff only. The public may attend this event through Zoom. 

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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.