Imagining works of art that relate closely to the surrounding architecture sometimes gives rise to forms of expression that occupy the walls themselves. In the 1960s, artists saw wall paintings as an alternative to paintings, which were seen as the custodians of centuries of tradition. In parallel to the movable works on show on the stands, four monumental all-over compositions by four Swiss artists will be featured on the north and south walls of the Grand Palais nave.
Renate Buser (b 1961, Aarau) produces monumental photos that provide an offbeat take on space and volume. After her studies in Basel and Venice (1982-88) and numerous residencies in the 90s in Paris, Grisons (Switzerland), Montreal, Berlin and Tokyo, she now lives and works in Basel. Since 2011, she has been spending a lot of time travelling, searching for examples of modernist and Brutalist buildings to photograph. Her main focus is on architecture; her large-scale installations, which are based on elements of existing constructions, are positioned so as to question our relationship with reality. The large format images that comprise the installations are placed on the façades of buildings and often make use of trompe-l'œil or mise en abyme effects. Some of her works are permanent (Basel, Lausanne, Geneva and Thoune in Switzerland), whereas others are produced to meet a temporary requirement. For the fair, Renate Buser reveals what was concealed by the walls at the end of the lateral naves with a series of staircases whose profiles are enhanced by a play of shadows.
The project is funded by the Hans and René Müller Meylan Foundation, (Basel), Fondation Ernst and Olga Gubler-Hablützel (Zurich)
Represented by Galerie C in Neuchâtel, Christian Gonzenbach (b 1975, Geneva) unfurls a collection of "human things" across the wall, strange objects that question our identity as a homo faber (a man who makes). At the crossroads of natural sciences and the art of science, Gonzenbach is like a researcher: his production takes forms that are as variable as the experiments that intersperse his career. Although his means of expression are multiple, each is marked by a desire to apprehend the world using unconventional means and to show it in uniquely different ways. His work, driven by the daily observation of life in the widest meaning of the term, an insatiable curiosity, a poetic imagination and a constant need to be doing something new, swings between the human, animal and plant worlds, regularly highlighting the human traits we attribute to objects or animals, or conversely man's animal side. After studies in biology, Christian Gonzenbach decided in 1995 to study ceramics in Geneva (where he lives and works today) before going on to obtain a Master of Arts in London.
Since the end of the 19th century, man has been fascinated by technical progress. Machines have become a source of inspiration and a recurrent motif in art. Synonymous with progress and development, they have often been glorified, but they have equally been judged as a factor of enslavement. After receiving a Leenaards grant, Sébastien Mettraux (b 1984, Vallorbe) - who trained between 2006 and 2012 in Lausanne and Geneva - has in turn been celebrating the machine. His choice of subject is less motivated by questions of modernity than by the curiosity which machines give rise to. His aim is not so much to be the champion of technology, or to criticise it, but rather to portray the landscapes of the north of the Vaud canton through the prism of industrialisation. From Nespresso to the clockmaking industry, the machines are treated identically: they are decontextualized, but with unchanged colours and shapes. There is no sign of patina in the oils he finely applies with a brush. So, far from landscapes that portray a bucolic vision of a countryside made up of winding roads and verdant hills, Mettraux paints the industrial heritage which is omnipresent in his part of Switzerland (he lives and works in Vallorbe) on large format canvases. The project is funded by Jaquemart Genève and Cité Gestion SA, Genève-Lausanne-Zürich.
Represented by Mai 36 Galerie in Zurich, Christoph Rütimann (b 1955, Zurich) lives and works in Müllheim in Turgovie (Switzerland). He trained in Lucerne from 1976 to 1980 and represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 1993. Whether he is drawing, doing performance art or making video art, his first interest is the line. Painted and juxtaposed in an exhibition, his lines can take the form of a regular geometric outline, or become sculptural as they run around the corner of a wall. When he uses a camera, what really interests him is the path followed by the line. His photographic installation Chi ha detto che il giallo non è bello (Who said that yellow wasn't beautiful) (1983/90) is made up of a series of photos taken in auto mode once he had thrown the camera in the air and while running along a predetermined line. In his video work, he obliges the camera to follow architectural lines such as cornices or handrails to produce images that actions predetermine, but which are random as far as the result is concerned.