I met Rene in his open studio workshop in the small Swiss town of Sierre. His studio had a very outdoorsy and rustic feel to it, it had 2 floors, but the top floor was built to be open so that you could see Rene working below through or over the banister.
Me and Rene weren't able to communicate through the same language, but he handed me a booklet which had lots of information about himself and his work written in French. I have taken some parts of it and translated it below:
Rene has always had a love for working creatively with wood. As a child he collected sticks, buttons, pebbles and stones to create little statues, and he would sell them to local people to make his pocket money.
Later in life he used his knowledge and skills in creating with wood, and transmitted this love to 100s of people in a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics called Villa Flora. Reflecting on his good memories, and exchanges through creation, Rene said 'What a pleasure it is to reawaken somebody's taste for life.'
Rene is a self taught sculptor, he learnt and developed his skills through a number of internships between Switzerland and Germany. When he creates his sculptures now, it provokes certain amount of nostalgia about making little statues in his childhood.
Rene earns his living by renovating houses, he buys old barns and buildings and remakes them to his own taste to sell or rent. He remakes them according to his own inspiration, with no requests or deadlines. He is against working with fixed constraints as he feels this limits the pleasure of creating.
He has a profound need to construct and create and uses mostly old, used, rusty and rustic materials as they have more texture and speak to him more than new, plain materials do. His work is spontaneous, instinctive and honest. He has also recently immersed himself into painting for a taste of discovery.