The limits of linguistic expression

Photographs: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

Student portrait Thilda Bourqui

Fine arts student Thilda Bourqui tries to approach her projects holistically and to explore unexpected connections between things.


Eva Vögtli: What made you study fine arts?
Thilda Bourqui: This field offers so many possibilities without me having to commit to one medium or form of expression.

Is your programme living up to your expectations?
I would say so. But I didn’t come here with any particular expectations. As we are very independent in our studies, we have a certain responsibility to make use of the infrastructure and offerings.

What are you working on?
I’m working on a number of projects at the moment and have been exploring the theme of “keys.” I have started to approach projects more holistically and to think about science, spirituality and history. The projects are unfolding slowly but steadily as I read books, consume memes or watch documentaries, for example. My future video projects will include teenagers, bedrooms, pole dancing, music, artificial trees and rivers, collaborations, plants, movement, intimacy, magic, portals and puppets.

What would you change at ZHdK or in the art sector?
I would like the gap between the different disciplines to be smaller. Also, I think there are too many white and grey walls here. So I really enjoy seeing exhibits in the corridors. In general, the Zurich art scene is an interesting environment. I follow promising projects, collectives and spaces, which motivate me to keep going.

What is your favourite place in Zurich?
The banks of the Limmat are always nice for a walk, but clambering up Mount Uetliberg is also great. I love the nearby forests — I need breaks outdoors.

How would you describe your vision?
It’s difficult to put into words. In such moments, I realize how limited language is as a form of expression. For instance, the term queerness is woven into many layers of meaning and thought, so I try to fathom unexpected connections between things like compost and death, or gender and the elements. I tend to focus on the “queering” of everything I encounter and try to convey a complex, open and changeable point of view with my art.

Further student portraits published in Zett
Eva Vögtli ( is responsible for communications at the Department of Fine Arts at ZHdK.
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