Marcus Egli (Zürich 1957 - 2016)


Egli is one of Switzerland’s most successful sculptors today with his distinctive work in aluminum. Starting with
raw aluminum, he heats, hammers, saws, welds, and polishes each piece by hand, making each figure unique.
Marcus Egli creates aluminum figures which he calls «Hominium».
He questioned about our relationship to the world and our relationship to our history. His themes are universal,
anonymity, loneliness and multiplicity. His artistic process refers us at our own image.
Egli (b.1957 - d. 2016) started producing his humanoid artworks in 1985, initially working with bronze and iron
but eventually bewitched by the bright, lustrous spirit of aluminium in which to create the metaphorical manforms
he calls ‘hominiums’. Each is unique - from the forge, they are machined, hammered, blasted and brushed
by hand. Each has an individual appearance but lacks a character: their faces are blank, but polished to a mirror
sheen to reflect the viewer.
Egli has created many public works and permanent displays in his native Switzerland: for a bank in Neuchâtel,
for the council chamber in Neuchâtel, the Arts Museum in Le Locle, and in Môtiers. His work has also appeared
in advertising campaigns for Swiss watches and American Express.
Egli was born in Zurich into a family of craftsmen, and though he studied precision engineering in Le Locle, the
heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry, he instead bought with his wife Rita a business fabricating aluminium
At a young age Egli saw a documentary about Auschwitz – images of machines pushing bodies into mass graves,
of row upon row of uniform humans, dehumanised into mere shapes of people. His modern work decades
later echoes this: they are presented in crowds, in regiments like soldiers, in cages, buried up to their necks in
concrete, trapped in nets. The metaphor stretches beyond its genesis in the concentration camps and into the
modern world, where men live trapped in the boxes of their homes, the restrictions of their jobs, lives, by social
pressures. Yet the obvious care and delight with which Egli sculpts shines through the warmth of the metal of
these recognisably human figures.
Egli lived and worked in a mountain village outside Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Exhibited by

Work Selection

Marcus Egli - Hominium