new york: a sunday in the mountains

© swiss institute / olivier mosset - toblerones [2005]

the dadaism art movement was launched in zurich almost a century ago and ever since there has been a kick-ass mindset that's a common denominator in swiss art. there's been quite a number of swiss artists who have created art that intentionally defies any restrictive context and that sometimes even borders on sabotage and anarchism. this tendency is highy surprising to say the least as switzerland has an international image as a safe haven and meticulously organized nation. apparently it's lulled into a sense of security that somehow channels the subversive exclusively to the domain of art. in 2006 swiss writer daniel de roulet gained international attention for his novel a sunday in the mountains. it tells the story of a stirring confession to an arson attack on the chalet of german publisher axel springer some 30 years after it took place.

the novel draws a perfect picture of a swiss love story in the 1970s that culminates with a terrorist attack. curated by gianni jetzer, an eponymous exhibition is currently held at the swiss insitute in new york that's more or less inspired by the book's multi-layered content. it opens with jean tinguely’s early land art piece study for the end of the world no. 2 [1962]. set in the total isolation of the desert outside las vegas, yet carried out in front of nbc television cameras, the artist blew up a whole apparatus with quite an impact. one artist that really crossed the line was werner sauber. after finalizing his first movie the lonely wanderer [1968] in 1968, went underground to fight capitalism. acting as a sympathizer of the notorious rote armee fraktion, he was killed in a gunfight with a police officer. this group exhibition seems to hint that switzerland still has a badass side, sustained by a contemporary generation of swiss artists that continue using revolutionary ideas, sabotage, or simply explosives as vehicles in their work [on through aug 25]. location: 18 wooster street [soho].

© swiss institute / valentin carron - death race 2000 [2000] + élodie pong - je suis une bombe [2006] - [top + bottom]