Iouri Podladtchikov

My friends have told me again and again how fascinating it would be to watch my sculpting process. So I wanted to try sculpting in public.

It so happened that Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik were going head-to-head in the highest-ranking chess match to-date in Zurich. The stage, showroom, bar and kitchen were all in my friend Dölf’s workshop on Bellevueplatz. I displayed the heads from my Chess Series there. Iouri Podladtchikov – he had just become the new snowboarding world champion – would be my model for the live sitting.

The chess world, Iouri’s snowboarding clique, many friends, and friends of friends came by. Everyone contributed something. It was great —  we stayed late into the night. I fire-gilded Iouri’s portrait — I thought it matched his attitude towards life. Two years later, he successfully went after Shawn White’s olympic gold.