In the last few weeks, we’ve experienced a full range of seasons in Zürich – from snowfall and hot drinks in cosy café corners to sunny days balmy enough to bring even a few brave swimmers to the riverside Badis! I sought out a similar panoply in the current art shows - multifaceted, and full of diversity and colour.
Exhibition title: Gregor and the Samsas (Kill your Friends)
Artist: Melli Ink
Galerie: Grieder Contemporary
Dates: March 24 – May 27, 2017
When first entering this gallery space, I was struck by the pure visual attraction of the installation. Forceful monochrome triangles in blue, yellow, pink and green (inspired by Gio Ponti) are painted directly on the walls juxtaposed with black and white film stills hanging over these forms, and small minimal sculptures arranged in the gallery space on wooden plinths. It was no surprise to learn that Melli Ink’s roots lie in stage design.
This multi-faceted exhibition, sparked by the artist’s music video made with the California Soft Rockers in 2016, combines performance, costume, set design, video, photography and sculpture. The video documents the band commuting to work dressed as insects – a cockroach, fly and spider - a clear nod to Franz Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, transformed into a large monstrous insect-like creature and repelled and rejected by his family. The music and absurd footage is playful, but encourages more serious reflections on identity and how it is reflected by society.
Exhibition title: Yesterday’s Echoes
Artist: Bianca Brunner
Dates: March 24 – May 6, 2017
Bianca Brunner’s new body of work Yesterday`s Echoes looks at the things we do not register consciously. Bianca explores the idea that our minds hold our core memories – essentially we never forget, things are simply overwritten. The exhibition consists of six photographs in varying sizes and two sculptures. The sculptures are the artist’s first to be displayed in a gallery, although they have always been an integral part of her studio practice.
The work is quiet and multi-layered, encouraging reflection. The minimal abstractions in soft-hued geometric forms are derived from plastic bags installed on a window in the artist’s studio, outside of which she also hangs sheets. The resulting photographs comprise wrinkles and imperfections, perhaps each layer a trace, a reminder of time passing, new events overlay old.
Having followed Bianca’s work, this exhibition feels even more pared down than previous ones. Scale and subject are more cleverly concealed than ever to really push the viewer into a deeper introspection. It’s exciting to observe this evolution!
Exhibition title: No title
Artist: Christian Herdeg
Galerie: Lang + Pult
Dates: March 11 – May 13, 2017
It felt like a natural progression to follow with an exhibition of Swiss artist Christian Herdeg’s light installations. One of the pioneers of light art, he has been creating these works for over 40 years.
Lange + Pult’s darkened gallery space is punctuated by oscillating abstract coloured forms made of light.
Herdeg’s neon tubes turn into floating lines, which contrast seamlessly with the diffused colour fields of fluorescent light. He describes the pipes as “his pens” and his pieces as “kinetic light objects” – the idea of movement being key here. I found his work Sextett particularly enticing, where numerous squares made up of different coloured neon tube sides create varying shifts of colours within, and in turn produce triangular gradations that merge together in their centre.
Standing amongst his works, I noticed in myself an emerging sense of calm. It was a perfect end to the gallery tour to pause in this space of serenity.