jay rechsteiner

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The Thing Outside – a live presentation / lecture and/or an installation

Developed in Italy, Switzerland & the UK (2015 & 2016)

Background: "The Thing Outside" originated as a live lecture, unraveling the discovery of a mysterious entity—an expansive patio umbrella and a solitary table (devoid of chairs) found in the town of Soiano by Lake Garda in North Italy. Over the course of a five-day exploration into the nature and potential motives behind this enigmatic outdoor setup, I curated three videos, a slide show, and several Photoshop images.

Approximately six months later, while stationed in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, as part of The Red Van research project, my path intersected with a group organizing a street festival designed to unite Italians and immigrants. As an outsider—neither classified as Italian nor immigrant—I found myself on the fringes of the festival's social circle. This experience metamorphosed into an undefined entity, something unfamiliar and unsettling. Left with no recourse but to document the location, the people, and the event, I embarked on a visual exploration.

Upon returning to the studio, a profound realization unfolded—the intense connection between the encounter with the thing outside in Soiano and the thing outside in Castellammare del Golfo.



The Thing Outside, photography by Swiss artist Jay Rechsteiner - Soiano and Castellammare del Golfo
photographs (each 150cm x 180cm) of the Thing Outside in Soiano and in Castellammare del Golfo, Italy



Project Phase 1 & 2

In order to structure The Thing Outside (experience/project) I have decided to seperate the encounters into phase 1 and 2.


Phase 1: August 2015, Soiano, Lombardia,Italy:


Phase 2: March 2016, Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, Italy


Initially the idea for the Thing Outside was a live performance / lecture based on my encounter with two objects, namely a canopy and a table.

We often encounter things we don't know, things we have heard of but never seen, things we don’t know exist, things that frighten us. Fear is one of the building blocks of human civilization & culture. It is a tool to 'organize' and 'cultivate' the way we lead our lives. The Thing Outside is a performance piece in the form of a live presentation/talk. It refers to the idea of readymades, turning non-art objects into art. The idea is nothing new. Marcel Duchamp famously turned ordinary manufactured objects into art by simply repositioning, joining or signing them. In the case of The Thing Outside however I am merely presenting a six-day observation of two objects (a canopy and a table) and an exhibition plan as a live lecture/presentation as opposed to the actual objects themselves and a physical exhibition (as shown in the photo montage). The action of observing (taking photos & filming) the two objects, putting together a presentation and finally presenting it as a live lecture turns the two objects into The Thing Outside which therefore becomes a theorized readymade sculpture in the form of a conceptual presentation/performance. I like the idea of the transformation and the reduction of a physical item into conceptual form. First there is an object/an item which then becomes art, a readymade by changing or adding something to it and lastly the readymade transforms into a theorized memory.

Content of the lecture
The lecture includes an introduction of how I came across the two objects, why it captured my interest and the entire process of observation. The lecture can be held live at a physical or virtual (online) space.


Research materials: video & images

slow motion footage

footage 01 - 03


documentation of photo- and videographic material
25 min 22 sec



8 photoshopped images

(51cm x 42cm, 5cm foamex)

The Thing Outside - photos by Jay Rechsteiner




I filmed and photographed a group of people who set up a small street festival behind a wall by a football stadium. The festival was to engage people with the issu of immigration. There was, however, no great interest within the people of Castellammare.


Photographic slide show of the festival in Castellammare



Presentations & outcomes

To date I have presented The Thing Outside once from 8 - 15 April 2016 at the Cello Factory in London as part of a group show organized and curated by fellow artists Infinity Bunce and Sarah Jefferies.

The presentation consisted of an installation and 3 framed collages. The actual installation of the work was in my opinion not successful as I did not manage to establish what I would call a 'good' & 'handsome' installation of the work, partly due to the architectural nature of the space. However, looking back at the installation, it was more of a process in order to go through my previously collected material and create 3 successful collages as shown below. If there is something like a final product of The Thing Outside, then I would say it is the three collages. However, as this project is process-based and by no means a complete project, the final product as such does not exist.


Collages #1, #2 & #3

developed in the UK, April 2016

framed 48cm x 60cm
Asking price: GBP800 (unframed, framed GBP850)


The Thing Outside, collage by Swiss artist Jay Rechsteiner, London 2016

The Thing Outside, collage #1
48cm x 60cm
Asking price: GBP800 (unframed, framed GBP850)
prints available on Saatchi Art: https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Collage-The-Thing-Outside-collage-1/315283/3296739/view


The Thing Outside, collage by Swiss artist Jay Rechsteiner, London 2016

The Thing Outside, collage #2
48cm x 60cm
Asking price: GBP800 (unframed, framed GBP850)


The Thing Outside, collage by Swiss artist Jay Rechsteiner, London 2016
The Thing Outside, collage #3
48cm x 60cm
Asking price: GBP800 (unframed, framed GBP850)



Installation at the Cello Factory. Click on image to read and see more...

The Thing Outside at Cello Factory, London. By Swiss artist Jay Rechsteiner



Juxtaposition of video and photographic fotage (including sound recordings):

left: phase 1 The Thing Outside in Soiano, Italy
right: phase 2: The Thing Outside in Castellammare del Golfo, Italy











Copyright © 2015, Jay Rechsteiner. All Rights Reserved.