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April 01 2013

Alex Katz – Landscapes / Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich

Landscapes is the title of the current solo show of the American painter Alex Katz at the museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zürich, Switzerland. At first, this doesn’t seem to be the typical exhibition for a museum that is dedicated to concrete, constructivist, and conceptual art. And indeed, many visitors seem to be surprised or even confused. Alex Katz (born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927) is generally seen as a figurative artist associated with the Pop art movement. Landscapes at Haus Konstruktiv is the first comprehensive solo exhibition of Alex Katz in a Swiss museum. This is also rather surprising, as Alex Katz ranks among the most popular and successful living artists, and is also present in numerous private Swiss collections. The exhibition focuses on the theme of landscape and presents works from 1949 to today – including works that have seldom or never been shown in any institution. In this video we have a closer look at the exhibition, and the director of Haus Konstruktiv and curator of the show, Dorothea Strauss, explains why she wanted to stage this exhibition since she became director of the museum eight years ago.

Alex Katz – Landscapes / Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich. Exhibition walkthrough and interview with Dorothea Strauss (Director, Museum Haus Konstruktiv). Zürich (Switzerland), March 28, 2013.

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January 16 2013

Sander van Deurzen at Galerie Barbara Seiler, Zürich

Sander van Deurzen’s current solo exhibition at Galerie Barbara Seiler in Zürich (Switzerland) features new paintings and – for the first time – sculptures by the Dutch artist. The show is titled Please fix my horn (my brakes don’t work), it’s the second solo presentation at the gallery.

Sander van Deurzen was born in 1975 in Blerick (the Netherlands). The artist lives and works in Amsterdam. Sander van Deurzen studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Maastricht, the Netherlands, where he received his diploma in 1997. After the studies he focused his work on painting. With the current solo show Please fix my horn (my brakes don’t work) at Barbara Seiler he introduces sculpture as new form of expression.

Sander van Deurzen’s work is included in collections such as ABN-AMRO bank, Aegon, Collection DSM, Caldic Collection, Fontys Hogescholen Nederland, Gemeente Museum Den Haag, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Museum Van Bommel Van Dam, Breda’s Museum, Collection Chadha, and De Nederlandsche Bank. Recent exhibitions include Forum für Kunst und Kultur Herzogenrath, Germany; Just Paint (Gemeentemuseum Den Haag); and IKOB – Museum für Zeitgenössische Kunst Eupen, Belgium. Awards include Royal Award for Painting, Royal Palace Foundation, Amsterdam, and Academy Award, Academy of Fine Arts, Maastricht.

Sander van Deurzen: Please fix my horn (my brakes don’t work). Solo exhibition at Galerie Barbara Seiler, Zürich (Switzerland). Preview, January 11, 2013.

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August 10 2012

Urs Fischer: Service à la Française (2009) / Luma Westbau / Pool etc.

After 2 years of renovation and restructuring, the Löwenbräu art center in Zürich (Switzerland) will officially reopen end of August. In June, the public had the opportunity to have a first look at new center. The new Löwenbräu, designed by the architects Gigon & Guyer, not only has a more open and spacious layout, but also houses additional institutions. Art patron Maja Hoffmann’s Luma Foundation is one of them. At the Löwenbräukunst preview event in June 2012, LUMA Westbau / POOL etc. showed an installation by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. The work titled Service à la française is an arrangement of mirror-polished stainless steel cubes with silkscreen prints applied on them. The title Service à la Française refers to the practice at the French royal court of serving all the dishes of a meal at the same moment to make the greatest impression. Printed on the cubes are photos of familiar objects such as a lipstick, a phone booth, the Eiffel tower, a piece of Swiss cheese, a PC, or a sailing ship. Each of those photos is cut out to the shape of the object. The other cubes and motives are reflected in the places that are not printed. Walking through the installation spreads a lush landscape of modern civilization before the eye of the visitors.

Urs Fischer: Service à la Française (2009) / Luma Westbau / Pool etc. Löwenbräukunst Preview event, June 10, 2012.

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August 06 2012

Art and the City. Public Art Festival in Zürich West

Art and the City is a public art festival that runs from 9 June until 23 September 2012 in Zürich West, a district in Zürich (Switzerland) that has undergone a dramatic transformation in the recent years. To experience this up-and-coming city district of Zürich, Art and the City invited more than 40 artists and artist groups from all over the world for an exhibition that includes sculptures, installations, performances, posters and interventions. This video takes you on a rather subjective and selective tour of the exhibition on 1 August, the Swiss National Day (which explains the empty streets and the rubber dinghies).

The exhibition includes artists who have been addressing issues of urban development since the 1970s such as Richard Tuttle, Fred Sandback, Yona Friedman and Charlotte Posenenske, as well as a younger generation of artists such as Christian Jankowski, Oscar Tuazon, Los Carpinteros, and Ai Weiwei.

Art and the City has been initiated by the Public Art Task Force (Arbeitsgruppe Kunst im öffentlichen Raum). The exhibition has been put together by the freelance curator and writer Christoph Doswald.

Art and the City. Public Art Festival in Zürich West. Zürich (Switzerland), August 1, 2012.

PS: As part of the Art and the City Public Art Festival, walking artist Hamish Fulton performed one of his slow walks along the Limmat river, called Limmat Art Walk Zürich 2012.

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Photo set:

Artists and works in order of appearance in the video (for a complete list of the participating artists visit the Art and the City website):

Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs: Kameras (3), 2012
Richard Tuttle: The Pump (2008)
Bettina Pousttchi: Ahead Only, 2012
Franziska Furter: Mojo, 2012
Christian Jankowski: Die Grosse Geste, 2012
Oscar Tuazon: A Lamp, 2012
Charlotte Posenenske: Vierkantrohre Serie D (2), 1967/2012
Pierre Haubensack: Netz, 2011
Not Vital: The No Problem Sculpture, 2012
Paul McCarthy: Apple Tree Boy Apple Tree Girl, 2010
Arcangelo Sassolino: Elisa, 2012
Karsten Födinger: Untitled, 2012
Wilfredo Prieto: Apolitico, 2001
Manfred Pernice: Orion_Renaissance, 2012
Valentin Carron: Ca-Tarac-Ta, 2012
Marjetica Potrc / Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg (OOZE): The Public Space Society, 2012
Frank Stella: De Schouw, 2012
Vaness Billy: Lifting the Earth, 2012
Saâne Afif: The Soapbox of Schiffbauplatz, 2012
Alex Hanimann: Vanessa, 2012
Los Carpinteros: Catedrales, 2012
Thomas Houseago: Hands & Feet III, 2011
Ai Weiwei: Sofa in White, 2011

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July 16 2012

Klaus Lutz: In the Universe. Retrospective at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich

Klaus Lutz was an artist and filmmaker who created an extraordinary body of work, which is characterized by a unique cinematic language. His films are reminiscent of 1920s expressionist film, of Georges Méliès and Russian avant-garde agitprop films. Now the museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zürich (Switzerland) presents a retrospective of his work. On the occasion of the launch of the comprehensive catalog “Klaus Lutz – Im Universum”, we spoke with the director of Haus Konstruktiv, Dorothea Strauss, who provides us with a short introduction to Klaus Lutz’s work.

Klaus Lutz was born in 1940 in St. Gallen (Switzerland). In 1993 he relocated to New York, where he lived until his death in 2009. For the films Klaus Lutz created from 1985 on, he used 16 mm film and animation and traditional film collage techniques. The stories he tells in his films show an individual – the artist himself – that takes on the rest of the world. Klaus Lutz was at the same time sketch provider, lead actor, director, camera operator, editor and also designed the invitations, posters, and flyers for his films.

Until September 2, 2012, Haus Konstruktiv shows all aspects of Klaus Lutz’s oeuvre: sketches, film scripts, film props, drawings, drypoints, and his 16 mm films, some of which are projected onto inflated balloons. The exhibition also presents photos of Klaus Lutz’s apartment and studio in New York, shot by Hans Danuser, and the documentary film “The Beauty of My Island – Shooting Klaus Lutz” by filmmaker Frank Matter.

The exhibition has been realized in cooperation with the Association for the Preservation of the Work of Klaus Lutz (Verein für die Erhaltung des Werkes von Klaus Lutz). A comprehensive publication with contributions and photos by Frank Matter, Martin Jaegi and Hans Danuser accompanies the exhibition.

Klaus Lutz: In the Universe. Book launch and interview with Dorothea Strauss (Director, Museum Haus Konstruktiv). July 11, 2012.

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July 06 2012

Hamish Fulton: Limmat Art Walk, Zürich 2012

As part of the public art festival Art And The City and courtesy of the gallery Häusler Contemporary, the British artist Hamish Fulton performed one of his famous “Art Walks” in Zürich (Switzerland). On June 23, 2012, two groups of 250 people each gathered at two different meeting points along the river Limmat for the Limmat Art Walk, 2012. It’s Hamish Futon’s biggest public walk. Starting exactly at 2 pm, the groups each walked in a single line, with one meter distance between each participant – and very slowly. At half the way, the two groups crossed paths and separated again. After two hours, the two groups reached their destination. In this video, we attend the Limmat Art Walk and follow one of the groups from the start point at Hardturmsteg to Europabrücke.

Hamish Fulton calls himself the “Walking Artist”. He was born in 1946 in London. He studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London and at the Royal College of Art, London. His work is concerned with the physical experience of space. “An object cannot compete with an experience”, he says. Since the late nineteen-sixties, he follows this leitmotif with his performances and processual works of art. Hamish Fulton lives and works in Canterbury.

Art And The City is a public art festival in Zürich West (Zürich, Switzerland) that takes place from June 9 until September 23, 2012. Art And The City is a project initiative of the City of Zürich. The event presents about 40 works by artists from all over the world.

Hamish Fulton: Limmat Art Walk, 2012. June 23, 2012.

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Remix for shoe fetishists:

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June 20 2012

Roni Horn: Selected Drawings 1984 – 2012 / Hauser & Wirth Zürich

The weekend before this year’s Art Basel, the Löwenbräu art center in Zürich (Switzerland) opened its doors so the public could see the renovated and restructured building that houses art galleries and institutions such as Kunsthalle Zürich, Luma Westbau / Pool etc., Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Galerie Freymond-Guth, and Hauser & Wirth.

The first exhibitions that Hauser & Wirth presents back in the Löwenbräu are shows with Hans Arp and Roni Horn. The Roni Horn show features selected drawings produced between 1984 and 2012. It’s the first survey exhibition dedicated solely to the pigment drawings of the New York-based artist. The works range from early pieces which showcase Roni Horn’s initial experimentations with pure pigment and varnish to the recent drawings that are composed of separate drawings, or “plates”.

Roni Horn: Selected Drawings 1984 – 2012 / Hauser & Wirth Zürich. Opening, June 10, 2012.

PS: See also: Roni Horn, Louise Bourgeois / Hauser & Wirth Zurich (2006).

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Press release:

‘If you were to ask me what I do, I would say I draw – this is the primary activity and that all my work has this in common regardless of idiom or material’
– Roni Horn in a letter to Paulo Herkenhoff, 2003

Hauser & Wirth is proud to announce the first survey exhibition dedicated solely to the pigment drawings of New York-based artist Roni Horn. Ranging from early pieces which showcase Horn’s initial experimentations with pure pigment and varnish to new and intricate, large-scale drawings, these works move beyond the limitations of their medium and instead explore the materiality of colour and the sculptural potential of drawing.

In the mid-1980s, Horn made her first drawings using pure pigment and featuring groupings of un-even shapes. Whether semi-conical, semi-pyramidal, or semi-rectangular, the objects waver between easily identifiable geometric forms and abstract volumes. Each is densely filled with powdered pigment in gemlike shades of deep red, bright yellow and brilliant green. The pigment is not painted within the outlines of the shape; instead it is layered thickly on to the paper, mixing in small amounts of turpentine, and then adding varnish little by little in a laborious process which lends physicality and depth to the two-dimensional works.

An important feature of Horn’s work is her sculptural and photographic explorations into the implications of repetition and doubling. Early drawings such as ‘Must 21’ (1985) also represent a two-dimensional investigation into multiplicity, perception and memory. ‘Must 21’ depicts a group of dark grey, tapered cylindrical shapes flecked with green, red and white pigments. Although similar at first glance and placed side-by-side, the shapes are not presented in a progressive or logical sequence. Instead, they have a built-in repetition with minor variations, such as the multicoloured traces of pigment, that require the viewer to commit their time and attention to teasing out the subtle differences.

Horn’s more recent drawings display a significant increase in scale and complexity. Each work is composed of separate drawings, or ‘plates’. Horn first cuts these plates then stitches elements from them together, creating entirely new forms through continuous cutting and pasting. Light pencil marks are dispersed throughout the drawings, indicating the joins of different plates and recording names or random pairings of words. These annotations marked time like a metronome as Horn carried out her exploration of the drawing’s expansive surface. In her essay in ‘Roni Horn aka Roni Horn’, Briony Fer described Horn’s work as ‘complete with missing parts’, capturing ‘the sense of a total object that is all absorbing yet at the same time intractable in some way and, therefore, always incomplete. This refusal to deliver everything easily or quickly forces us to slow down and reflect: to hold on to that tenuous hold’.

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May 25 2012

Freitag – Out of the Bag. Retrospective at Museum of Design Zurich

The story of the iconic Freitag bag made of used truck tarpaulin began in Zurich (Switzerland) in 1993, when the two brothers and keen cyclists Daniel and Markus Freitag were looking for a practical and waterproof messenger bag. As they couldn’t find one that suited their needs, they just produced one themselves. The inspiration came from the trucks that passed by in front of their students flat. First the Freitag brothers sewed together bags made of used truck tarps, car seat belts and bicycle inner tubes just for themselves and their friends. But the uniquely designed bag became popular and even cult.

Today the Freitag brothers and their company are a both a prominent part of the urban street scene as well as a model of the (not only Swiss) creative industry. Time for the Museum of Design Zurich (Museum für Gestaltung Zürich) to have a closer look at company and their individual recycled freeway bags. The first Freitag retrospective called Freitag – Out of the Bag takes a look behind the scenes and spotlights the history, products, manufacture, organization, marketing of Freitag. Rather than just showing the bags, which can be seen in the streets of cities all over the world, the show presents material from the company archive, observations in film, prototypes, and a number of interviews.

VernissageTV met up with Daniel Freitag and the curator of the exhibition Freitag – Out of the Bag, Renate Menzi to talk about the company and the exhibition, and to follow them on a tour through the show. The above video is a video summary of the exhibition and the interviews. The complete videos can be viewed after the break. Daniel Freitag speaks about the secret of Freitag’s success, their design philosophy, what inspires them, how the brothers work together, the essence of a Freitag product, sustainability, different tastes across the world, future projects – and why he wears a beard. Curator Renate Menzi provides us with an introduction to the exhibition, and points to two different scenarios for the future of the company. The exhibition Freitag – Out of the Bag at Museum of Design Zurich runs until July 29, 2012.

Freitag – Out of the Bag. Retrospective at the Museum of Design Zurich (Museum für Gestaltung Zürich). Interview with Daniel Freitag and Renate Menzi (Museum of Design), Zürich / Switzerland, May 9, 2012.

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> On YouTube.

The Freitag brothers won numerous awards with their bags and their company. This is a selection of the distinctions awarded: In 1997 they won Distinction, Design Preis Schweiz; in 2003 the Top Cat model is accepted into the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA); in 2003 the Freitag brothers won Gold for the F-CUT by the Art Directors Club Switzerland in the category of Electronic Publishing; in 2007 they won the Golden Pencil for Environmental Design / Retail & Services, D&AD Global Awards; in 2009 they received the Design Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany: Gold for the F-Shop in Zurich in the Product Design category; in 2011 they won the 6th Zurich entrepreneur award for innovative, sustainable and commercially successful work.


Interview with Daniel Freitag (19:01 Min.):

Almost twenty years after the launch of the first product, the original bag is still the best-selling, but is complemented by additional lines and products. There are 40 models of the Freitag Fundamentals range, and 17 Freitag Reference models. The Freitag brothers expect this year’s sale to reach about 300,000 items. The company employs a staff of 130, and processes around 400 metric tons of truck tarpaulins. The Freitag products are sold through 400 sales partners, the online shop, and nine of its own F-Stores in Berlin, Cologne, Davos, Hamburg, Tokyo, and Vienna, including one across the New Museum in New York and their spectacular flagship store in Zürich, built from shipping containers.


Künstlergespräch mit Daniel Freitag und Kuratorin Renate Menzi (in German language) (58:02 Min.):

Each Freitag bag is made from original truck tarpaulins of different colors, markings and contours, thus every Freitag product is a one-off. Another key element of the design is the green aspect, the use of second-hand material. This is also the biggest constraint on growth: Finding enough suitable tarpaulin for the products.

Photo set on Flickr:

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November 25 2011

Florian Germann at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich

The Poltergeist Experimental Group (PEG) Applied Spirituality and Physical Manifestation at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zürich, Switzerland is Swiss aritst Florian Germann’s first solo exhibition at an institution. The show looks like a mixture between sculpture exhibition, experimental design and home improvement. The starting point of Florian Germann’s works is often a historic figure or a mythological motif, that he subjects to a revisionary rewriting.

Florian Germann was born in 1978 in Thurgau, Switzerland. He lives and works in Switzerland. The exhibition The Poltergeist Experimental Group (PEG) Applied Spirituality and Physical Manifestation is curated by Raphael Gygax.

Florian Germann: The Poltergeist Experimental Group (PEG) Applied Spirituality and Physical Spirit Manifestation at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich / Switzerland. Opening reception, November 18, 2011.

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November 21 2011

The Historical Box. Curated by Mara McCarthy / Hauser & Wirth Zürich

The group exhibition The Historical Box at the gallery Hauser & Wirth in Zürich, Switzerland presents American artists who are not widely known, but who’s work is nevertheless seen as highly influential and relevant. Curated by Mara McCarthy, director of Los Angeles based gallery The Box, the show features work by John Altoon, Judith Bernstein, Simone Forti, Wally Hedrick, Robert Mallary, Barbara T. Smith and Stan VanDerBeek.

The exhibition aims to bring theses artists and their work back into the awareness of the art-interested public. Among the works on display is Judith Bernstein’s Horizontal (1973), a monumental depiction of a phallus that caused a scandal when it was shown in a group exhibition in 1974. Another example of Bernstein’s work that critiques both political and sexual society is Supercock, a piece that is satirizing the male-dominated art world.

From Robert Mallary the gallery presents Jouster (1960), Flight 16 (1961) and Harpy (1962). Harpy is constructed from old tuxedos ripped and stretched over thin steel rods and polyester resin. Mallary’s works are take their inspiration from classical themes. Harpy is named after the mythological creature with a human head and bird-like body.

The largest work on display and the centerpiece of the exhibition is Wally Hedrick’s War Room (1967/68 – 2002). The installation is constructed from eight large canvases that are painted black and bolted together to create a room in which viewers can immerse themselves in a contemplative space. Hedrick created War Room as a response to the Vietnam War and later re-painted the canvases black for both the Gulf War and the Iraq War. For Hedrick the black canvases stand for “wounded veterans”.

Another important work in the exhibition is Hangers (1961) by Simone Forti, a work that combines minimalist sculpture, dance, and performance art. The work consists of ropes hanging from the ceiling in large loops. It is activated by performers who stand in the loops while additional performers walk between them.

The group show The Historical Box. Curated by Mara McCarthy at Hauser & Wirth Zürich runs until January 14, 2012.

The Historical Box. Curated by Mara McCarthy / Hauser & Wirth Zürich. Opening reception with performance by Simone Forti, November 18, 2011.

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September 07 2011

Ivan Seal: The Object Hurts the Space at RaebervonStenglin Gallery

RaebervonStenglin Gallery opens the art season with an exhibition of new paintings by the artist Ivan Seal. Ivan Seal was born in 1973 in Manchester. He lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Ivan Seal’, Carl Freedman Gallery, London (2011); ‘True as applied to you; false as applied to you’, Krome Gallery, Berlin (2011); ‘I Learn by Osmosis’, CEAAC, Strasbourg (2010); and ‘Two Rooms For A Fall’, Berlin (2009).The exhibition at RaebervonStaenglin is titled The Object Hurts the Space and runs until October 8, 2011. Hit the jump for press release and photo set.

Ivan Seal: The Object Hurts the Space. Opening reception at RaebervonStenglin, Zürich / Switzerland, September 1, 2011.

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Press release:

RaebervonStenglin is delighted to present an exhibition of entirely new work by the British-born, Berlin-based artist Ivan Seal. According to the artist, his work is a ‘hand-eye parasite that grows and grows’, likening it to ‘The Aristocrats’ joke comedians only tell to fellow professionals whose aim is not the punch-line but a middle so filthy it can barely be told; to the visions experienced in the comedown of a trip when one’s eyes and synapses see multiple realities; and to puzzles to which there are no wrong answers only a myriad of solutions. Paint is many things in his work; but it is also just paint, laid on a canvas, as bold, dumb and brilliant as that permits.
 
Seal’s paintings are brilliant and dark in equal measure. Their colours are lurid as though lit with an artificial glare, yet disappear into shadows; and there is an exhilarating drama to their compositions in which plinth-perched forms seem likely to topple or else collapse into inchoate matter. His images read as part geometric abstraction, part hyper-real fantasy. Their rhythms cite the history of still-lifes, recalling the elegant contrivances of Chardin or the blackly delineated folds encountered in early Cézanne wherein the representation of a sculptural reality vies with paint’s own materiality. Seal’s subjects, however, are unlovely and peculiar: hunks of clay, string and tumour-like congestions of paint, for instance, set off against backgrounds that veer garishly from one hue into another. It’s an iconography the artist has evolved over time in which paint slips disconcertingly from tool to subject matter, becoming as it does so embodiments of psychological reckoning; a physical expression of the gunk of memory through which each of us fashion our worlds. Only ever painting from his mind, never from an object or image in front of him, Seal sets the imagination’s triumvirate of improvisation, invention and memory to work to come up with paintings at once flat and three-dimensional, realistic and yet like nothing ever seen before.
 
Seal works with systems, liking the random injunctions arrived at through computer programmes (from which he’s generated many of the names of his paintings and made aleatory sound pieces) and developing an alphabet of signs whose syntactical arrangement he readily devolves to curators. Yet equally his painting is the result of day-by-day graft in the studio, a practiced understanding of the effects and illusions that can be wrought out of his medium and a grappling with painting’s fundamental dynamism — the superficiality of its depths and vice versa. Only the open-endedness of his works is certain: they are there for the viewer to complete. If, in the course of his travails, a picture of a sausage emerges, it might have to do with the fact his father’s a butcher, or be a worm-like symbol that’s infested the psyche, but it’s also painting defined not by either its conception or outcome, but in the adventure of its making.


September 05 2011

Ugo Rondinone: Kiss Now Kill Later / Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich

Galerie Eva Presenhuber opens the fall season with a solo show by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Last year, Rondinone had a comprehensive solo exhibition at Aargauer Kunsthaus. Galerie Eva Presenhuber presents three work groups: a series of bird figures, six huge ink paintings, and a group of text related works on scrap wood. In addition to these works, there’s also a clock made from stained glass with no fingers. It is cast into an outer wall of the gallery space and thus illuminated by daylight.

More information and a photo set are available after the jump. The exhibition runs until October 29, 2011.

Ugo Rondinone: Kiss Now Kill Later. Opening reception at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich / Switzerland, September 1, 2011.

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Excerpt from the press release:

The exhibition is designed in sequences: in each of the exhibition rooms, which are painted grey, three work groups are displayed, and recent works are combined with existing series. Amid these three work groups, one diminutive piece makes a distinctive appearance: a clock made from stained glass with no fingers, which is cast into the wall and is thus illuminated by daylight.

In the first room, we have a new body of work on display: a series of bird figures. A total of thirty bird sculptures have been installed across the whole of the exhibition space, as if in a flock. Created in various sizes, they are moulded in various positions and are all facing different directions. For the most part, these delicate sculptures do not exceed five inches in height and their characteristic claws, beaks and tails, though meticulously crafted, still manage to give of an air of casualness. Their appearance is that of birds, but their character is not. The titles of the bird sculptures refer to natural phenomena. In this way, they represent the natural world outside the artistic space. Their presentation within the group conveys the idea that those non-descript birds stand for more important events. The sculpture surface is covered with dense networks of fingerprints, which form stylised reliefs and mean that the work is forged entirely in the artist’s distinctive style, thus breaking the connection to real birds. The artist has borrowed this surface texture from his masks series. Like with these masks, the actual process of modelling the clay is visible since the artist’s fingerprints, created when moulding the clay, remain on the material after casting. In this way, the creation process is caught in time and is preserved in the finished sculpture. This moment is further emphasised by the materiality of these gracefully-formed figures: cast in bronze and installed on the floor, the creatures have been deprived of their most important feature: the ability to fly. This is compounded further through the artist’s choice of bronze as his work material. Its colour, too, is similar to the colour of the clay, something which that the artist considered as important in his choice of materials. The fact that the bronze was left raw and that the birds differ only in their finish, and not in the colouring of their would-be plumage, affirms this impression even more.

In the second exhibition room, six ten-foot by thirteen-foot ink paintings are hung on the walls. They feature Arcadian landscapes and forest paintings on large paper that has been stretched on canvas and mounted in a frame. They show drawings that are traditionally made in a sketchbook, with motifs reminiscent of the intimacy of 18th century cabinet pieces. Here, they are reproduced on a large scale, developed using a slide projector to enlarge miniatures. This is meant to allow the spectator to establish a direct physical relationship with them while at the same time empathising with their content. The large format has the effect of opening the spectator’s perspective on untouched landscapes and reflects an unaffected approach to idyl and nativeness. Their size means that they simulate the immediacy of a real experience for the spectator. The appearance of the ink drawings refers to the art form of calligraphy. This is because the artist is, in fact, working with a Chinese brush. The calligraphy symbols represent the movement of the artist’s hands and are comparable to the fingerprints on the bird sculptures.

The artist has been creating these monochromatic ink landscapes since the early 1990s. The collection is an as yet unfinished series that Rondinone has diligently worked on since his first solo exhibition, with Eva Presenhuber in Galerie Walcheturm in 1991. However, the most recent exhibition of these landscape drawings was held in 2002 at Sadie Coles HQ, London. There was therefore a strong desire for access to be granted to the public for this important body of work; one which the artist has previously described as the basis of all of his work, including his new drawings from 2011. When asked about his muse, Ugo Rondinone refers significantly to ‘Early Morning’, a small watercolour painting, measuring 7 x 9 inches and depicting a forest landscape in sepia, created by English artist Samuel Palmer in the year 1825. This is how the artist accounts for his choice: “A work of great spiritual power, it achieves and articulates a unique fusion of language, perception and visions. Its delicate touch plays on the texture richness that we find between the folds of very modest episodes, evoking a frisson of deep recognition, a sense of primal encounter with the brilliant, elusive world of senses. There is a striking freedom of style here, which allows the artist to move without any sense of strain or loss of balance from the visionary and ecstatic to the exquisitely precise. ‘Early Morning’ is an elegiac meditation on love, loss and the spiritual beauty of nature.” (in: domus 942, December 2010, p. 111)


August 19 2011

VernissageTV Classics (r3): Olaf Breuning at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich (2007)

In 2007, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zürich, Switzerland presented a large-scale installation by Olaf Breuning. The exhibition was Olaf Breuning’s largest solo show in Switzerland at that time. The Swiss artist conceived an architecture of art transport boxes. The visitor was invited to stroll through this and discover fantasy figures and strange objects.

This is the seventh segment in our series r3 that highlights the treasures of VernissageTV’s huge archive. R3 is a series of VernissageTV classics, now re-mastered, re-edited and reissued in High Definition. Click here for the complete list of videos. Click here for the original post and more information about the show.

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August 10 2011

The Garden of Forking Paths Outdoor Sculpture Project. Part 2.

The Garden of Forking Paths is the title of an outdoor sculpture project, which the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst is staging on the Blum family estate in Samstagern near Zürich, Switzerland. The exhibition, curated by the Migros Museum’s director Heike Munder, is presented in two parts. This video shows the artworks of the second part of the project.

The first part of “The Garden of Forking Paths” presents works by the artists Pablo Bronstein, Liz Craft, Fabian Marti, Peter Regli, and Thiago Rocha Pitta. The second part of the show opened on the 10th July 2011 with additional works by Ida Ekblad, Geoffrey Farmer, Kerstin Kartscher, and Ragnar Kjartansson.

Geoffrey Farmer has created an artwork in three parts, consisting of a dress for cows, a sound installation, and an exhibition with photographs in a small forest, referring to US-american poet Allen Ginsberg. Ida Ekblad who is currently participating in this year’s Venice Biennale exhibition ILLUMInations, installed a gate made of steel with surrealistic ornaments. The German artist Kerstin Kartscher planted huge umbrellas – “magic mushrooms” – on the lawn of the estate. Finally, the Islandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson arranges three monuments of marble along one of the farms paths.

The Garden of Forking Paths Outdoor Sculpture Project, August 6, 2011. The show runs until October 30, 2011. Click here for part 1 of the project. See also: Pablo Bronstein: Teatro Alessandro Scarlatti / Performance.

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Photo set on Flickr:

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June 29 2011

Guerra de la Paz: Bonsai Couture / Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zürich

For the Miami-based artistic duo of Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz the exhibition Bonsai Couture at Galerie Kashya Hildebrand is the first exhibition in Switzerland. Guerra de la Paz often use discarded, repurposed or recycled items of daily life for their sculptures. The solo show at Kashya Hildebrand showcases the series “Bonsai Couture” that combines the traditions of bonsai making with the practices of haute couture or high fashion.

Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz of artist duo Guerra de la Paz were both born in Cuba. Alain Guerra studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Neraldo de la Paz at the Northern Illinois University, De Kalb. They met in Chicago the day that Alain was moving back to Miami. They live and work in Miami, Florida. Established in 1996, Guerra de la Paz work in a variety of media, from paintings to sculpture and installation. Currently, they focus on textile work made from unwanted clothing. Guerra de la Paz have also participated in the Prague Quadriennial 2011 with their work MANTO.

Guerra de la Paz: Bonsai Couture at Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zürich / Switzerland. Opening reception, June 8, 2011.

PS: See also: Eveline Politanoff on Bonsai Couture in the Huffington Post, and Guerra de la Paz. Studio Visit.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Press release:
Galerie Kashya Hildebrand is pleased to present Bonsai Couture, the first Swiss exhibition of Guerra de la Paz, the Miami-based Cuban artistic team of Alain Guerra (b. 1968) and Neraldo de la Paz (b.1955). The two, who have been collaborating since 1996, originally sourced the clothing, fabric andmaterials for their sculptures from second-hand goods shipping companies in Miami’s Little Haiti;today, they still make their sculptures primarily from the discarded, repurposed or recycled items of daily life. Using these new and repurposed materials, Bonsai Couture draws on the aesthetic qualitie sof the handmade in order to create symbols of reshaped identity. Each piece represents individuality redefined not only with delicacy but also with an element of fantasy and extravagance.

In particular, the series combines the traditions of bonsai making with the practices of haute couture or high fashion. In bonsai practice, the aesthetic miniaturization of trees is a meditative process of cultivation that involves painstakingly shaping and sculpting a tree. The process of design and creation in haute couture is comparable: it emphasizes the use of time-consuming, hand-executed techniques as well as custom fitting one-of-a-kind pieces made from high-quality, opulent fabrics. For Guerra de la Paz, merging the techniques and philosophies of these two disciplines results in several surprising insights, and it contributes to a universal dialogue inspired by the divine quest for perfection. In the end, by combining the traditional with the modern and by transcending cultural and aesthetic boundaries, these works address humanity’s instinctive ability to adapt as well as its insatiable desire to achieve perfection through the control of nature.


June 26 2011

MFA 2011 Master of Fine Arts Show / Zurich University of the Arts / part 1/2

For the second time, the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK) (Zurich University of the Arts) has been showcasing the degree work of the Master of Arts in Fine Arts (MFA) course of studies. As in 2010, the MA Fine Arts Degree Show 2011 took place in June, at Shedhalle in Zürich / Switzerland. This video is the first part of our walk-through where we have a look at the works by Habib Asal, Michael Meier, Marie-Luise Lange, Silvia Luckner, Maja Küng, Zuni Halpern, Valerie Döring, Regine von Felten, Wamidh Al-Ameri, Chingsum Jessye Luk, Henrik Hentschel, Atelier Hauert Reichmuth, and Marco Nicolas Heinzen. It also contains interviews with Prof. Thomas Müllenbach, and the artists Natalie Hauswirth, Mareike Spalteholz, and Karoline Schreiber.

MFA 2011 Master of Fine Arts Show, Shedhalle, Zürich / Switzerland. Opening reception and interviews, June 6, 2011. Part 1/2.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.


May 11 2011

Michel Verjux: Respiration / Galerie Mark Müller

In this video we attend the opening of the solo show Michel Verjux: Respiration at Mark Müller Gallery in Zürich, Switzerland. French artist Michel Verjux is known for his work with light. He often uses powerful spotlights to create pure geometric shapes. With this exhibition, the gallery also opens its new premises in Hafnerstrasse 44, near the Museum of Design and the Löwenbräu art center.

Michel Verjux: Respiration. Opening and inaugural exhibition, Zürich / Switzerland, May 6, 2011.

PS: See also: Michel Verjux: Index / Galerie Jean Brolly, Paris (2007).

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Photo set on Flickr:


May 10 2011

David Hare at Galerie Römerapotheke, Zürich

Galerie Andy Jllien and Galerie Römerapotheke, both located in Rämistrasse 18 in Zürich, Switzerland, currently present works by David Hare. David Hare (1917 – 1992) was an American painter, sculptor and photographer, associated with the Surrealist movement. After his surrealist experiments in photography, he focused on Surrealist sculpture. He was co-founder and editor of the Surrealist journal VVV, with André Breton, Max Ernst, and Marcel Duchamp. In 1948 David Hare became a founding memeber of the Subjects of the Artist School in New York, together with Mark Rothko, William Baziotes and Robert Motherwell. David Hare also belonged to the early generation of New York Abstract Expressionist artists. The exhibition at Galerie Römerapotheke presents drawings, paintings and a sculpture by David Hare. More information and photo gallery after the jump.

David Hare, Galerie Römerapotheke, Zürich / Switzerland. Opening, May 5, 2011.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Photo set on Flickr:

From the press release (in German language):
Ab Donnerstag, 5. Mai präsentieren Andy Jllien Fine Art und Galerie Römerapotheke eine spektakuläre Ausstellung mit Werken, vornehmlich Zeichnungen (die in der Schweiz noch nie zu sehen waren) des 1992 verstorbenen Künstlers DAVID HARE. Der lange Zeit als Aussenseiter geltende Künstler kannte zu seinen Lebzeiten reihenweise Künstler, verkehrte und war u.a. eng befreundet mit André Breton, Duchamp, Pollock, Calder, Tanguy, Rothko usw. Jean-Paul Sartre war von seiner Arbeit begeistert und hat ihn ausführlich beschrieben. Hare jedoch, der sich stets jeglichen Zeitströmungen und Klassifizierungen verweigerte und sich Elementen des Surrealismus, griechischer Mythologie, Expressionismus und Schamanismus bediente, ohne sich je festzulegen, fand seine eigene Sprache, seine eigenen Wege. Dass diese Wege gerade heute hochaktuell sind, zeigen einige aktuelle Ausstellungen 2011: MOMA New York hat in der Ausstellung „Abstract Expressionism“ Hare’s Skulptur „Magician’s Game“ integriert, das Museum of Fine Arts Boston eröffnete einen Flügel für amerikanische Kunst und zeigt die Skulptur „Fat Young Lady“, das Noguchi Museum in New York zeigt die Arbeit „Waterfall“ im Rahmen der Ausstellung „Isamu Noguchi and his Contemporaries 1922 – 1960“, die Michael Rosenfeld Gallery New York zeigt eine grosse „Abstract Expressionism“-Show, vor wenigen Wochen wurde dem Whitney Museum eine grosse Skulptur geschenkt und für den Herbst 2011 ist in den USA eine grosse Retrospektive zu David Hare geplant.

English text:
David Hare was born on March 10, 1917, in New York. From 1936 to 1937 he studied biology and chemistry at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. In the late 1930s he began to experiment with color photography, which the Walker Galleries in New York exhibited in 1939. Hare opened a commercial photography studio in New York in 1940, and in the same year the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, gave him a solo exhibition. During the early 1940s Hare came into contact with a number of the surrealist emigrés in New York, and in 1942 he started to make sculpture. From 1942 to 1944 Hare founded and edited the surrealist magazine VVV with André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernst. Peggy Guggenheim presented solo shows of Hare’s work in her Art of This Century gallery from 1944 to 1947. In 1948 he was a founding member, together with William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko, of The Subjects of the Artist school in New York and he became friendly with Jean-Paul Sartre. This same year he moved to Paris, where he met Balthus, Victor Brauner, Alberto Giacometti, and Pablo Picasso. He returned to New York in 1953 but spent the next two summers in Paris.

Hare was included in the São Paulo Bienal of 1951 and 1957, and in 1958 he received a sculpture commission for the Uris building at 750 Third Avenue, New York. Hare began to concentrate on painting in the 1960s. From the mid-1960s into the 1970s Hare held teaching positions at the Philadelphia College of Art, the University of Oregon, Eugene, and the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He was included in the Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage exhibition of 1968 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The following year he received an honorary doctorate from the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore. In the late 1960s the artist began his Cronus series of drawings, collages, paintings, and sculpture, which was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1977. In the same year he was included in Dada and Surrealism Revisited at the Hayward Gallery, London, and in 1978 he showed in American Painting of the 1970s at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Hare died on December 21, 1992, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


May 09 2011

The Garden of Forking Paths Outdoor Sculpture Project

The Garden of Forking Paths is the title of an outdoor sculpture project, which the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst is staging on the Blum family estate in Samstagern near Zürich, Switzerland. The exhibition, curated by the Migros Museum’s director Heike Munder, is presented in two parts. This video shows the opening of the first part of the project, and Heike Munder talks about the concept of the exhibition and the works on display.

The first part of “The Garden of Forking Paths” presents works by the artists Pablo Bronstein, Liz Craft, Fabian Marti, Peter Regli, and Thiago Rocha Pitta. Pablo Bronstein has created a pavilion that serves as the performance venue for the aria “Qui del Sol gl’infausti lampi” from the opera “Agar et Ismaele Esiliati by Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti (click here to watch the performance). Liz Craft has conceived a garden house with a stairway to heaven (“Snake House”), while Fabian Marti has built a psychedelic hothouse (“Heroic Dose”). Finally, there’s Peter Regli’s disproportionally large snowman made of white marble (“Reality Hacking No. 270″), and Thiago Rocha Pitta’s “Monument to the Continental Drift”, a sail for the landscape.

The second part of the show opens the 10th July 2011 with additional works by Ida Ekblad, Geoffrey Farmer, Kerstin Kartscher, and Ragnar Kjartansson. The sculpture project “The Garden of Forking Paths” is a guest on the Froh Ussicht estate, owned by the Blum family in Samstagern (Zürich). Since 2008, Martin Blum presents art projects on his farmland under the name Froh Ussicht.

The Garden of Forking Paths Outdoor Sculpture Project, Opening, May 1, 2011.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Photo set on Flickr:

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May 06 2011

VernissageTV Classics (r3): Robert Rauschenberg and Darryl Pottorf at Jamileh Weber (2006)

On July 15, 2006 Galerie Jamileh Weber in Zurich opened an exhibition with a selection of works by Robert Rauschenberg and new works by Robert Rauschenberg’s former assistant Darryl Pottorf. The exhibition was quite unique in that the selection of works by Rauschenberg presented in this show are all works that the artist kept for his own collection. In this video, we attend the opening reception of the exhibition.

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. Robert Rauschenberg was both a painter and a sculptor. He is well-known for his “Combines” that are a combination of both. He also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance. In 1993 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Robert Rauschenberg lived and worked in New York City as well as on Captiva Island, Florida until his death on May 12, 2008.

This is the fifth segment in our new series r3 that highlights the treasures of VernissageTV’s huge archive. R3 is a series of VernissageTV classics, now re-mastered, re-edited and reissued in High Definition. Click here for the complete list of videos.

PS: Here’s the original version. More Robert Rauschenberg-related videos are available here.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

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