Groupshow – Carona
Weiss Falk, Basel
Curated by Arthur Fink and Oskar Weiss.
Anton Bruhin, Hermann Hesse, Matthyas Jenny, Urs Lüthi, Meret Oppenheim, Markus Raetz, Iwan Schumacher, Peter Schweri, David Weiss.
Galerie Weiss Falk is pleased to present Carona, an exhibition about the art and literary scene that developed in Carona in the 1970s. A number of artists, including Meret Oppenheim, Markus Raetz, Peter Schweri, Anton Bruhin and David Weiss, lived for a while in this village in the canton of Ticino; others, including Urs Lüthi and Iwan Schumacher, often came to visit. Some Swiss literary gures also dwelt in Carona, including author and publisher Matthyas Jenny, whose fanzine Nachtmaschine can be seen in the exhibition. Carona has drawn artists and writers ever since the early 20th century. The Wengers, a family of Basel entrepreneurs, were an enduring mainstay of cultural life there. Lisa Wenger, a famous children’s book writer and painter, lived in the village with her husband and children. Her daughter Ruth was married to Hermann Hesse (1877–1962), who wrote several pieces about the village and its surroundings and captured his visual impressions in a number of watercolors. Lisa Wenger’s granddaughter, Meret Oppenheim, had her second home in Carona from the 1960s on. Even in the ’70s young artists were drawn to the place by the Wenger family. Oppenheim’s nephew, Christoph Wenger, kept open house at Casa Aprile, which attract- ed the Swiss hippie and art scene. So this picturesque little village became an important point of reference for the artists featured in this exhibition, all of whom led rather nomadic lives.
To help with repairs to Casa Aprile — in return for free lodgings — David Weiss (1946–2012) moved to the village in the late ’60s and did much of his early work there. The show includes original drawings for his renowned artist’s book up and down town (aka Regenbüchlein, 1975) and Marakesch (1977) from the series Wandlungen, a cornucopia of wondrously associative metamor- phic drawings. Weiss’s Lazy Days series, executed in 1974 together with Urs Lüthi (b. 1947), will also be exhibited for the rst time. His Zürich artist friends Peter Schweri and Anton Bruhin were drawn to the village several years later: Bruhin (b. 1949) worked on manuscripts there as well as a series of drawings called Quink (1975/76). In a eld recording labeled Carona Soundscape 18 . 3 . 76 you can hear Bruhin typing away in the garden there with chickens clucking and an airplane droning in the background. On the train down to Ticino, Bruhin undertook an artistic experi- ment that involved drawing continuously in an attempt to capture the landscape as it presented itself to him. He produced whole notebooks of “shorthand” impressions of speci c trips, which he called Landschaftsstenogramme or “landscape stenog- raphy”. Peter Schweri (1939–2016) also produced a host of colorful and fascinatingly idiosyncratic drawings in Carona. In the late ’60s he shot video clips for a discotheque in Milan and put together a light show using lm footage and slide shows for Zürich’s Black Out night club. One such clip opens the Carona exhibition and builds a bridge to the Zürich scene in which these artists moved and in which Schweri, Bruhin and Weiss were often present even while living in Ticino. Meret Oppenheim had her summer residence in the house next door, Casa Costanza, and had plenty of interaction with the young artists staying in Carona. The exhibition includes some of her works from the 1960s and ’70s, including a collage, Octopus’s Garden (1971), named after the famous Beatles song, and the drawings Dort iegt sie, die Geliebte (There She Flies, the Lover, 1961) and Kinderkopf (mit zittrigem Strich) (Child’s Head (with Shaky Line), 1970. Monika and Markus Raetz lived with their daughter a little further down in the village from 1973–76. During this period Markus Raetz worked almost exclusively on the Bücher that laid the groundwork for his entire oeuvre and in which he captured his pictorial worlds in diary form. Facsimiles of the volumes from 1972–74 (Edition Pablo Stähli, 1975) are on display as well as several series of drawings from that period.
Similar artistic positions can be made out in the early works of Weiss, Raetz, Bruhin and Schweri. They share an interest in the medium of drawing itself and a certain aversion to producing representative stand-alone works. Instead of engaging in grand gestures, they explore playful, associative processes, as epito- mized by their copious, typologically organized metamorphic drawings. There are also parallels in topical references: quotations from comics, psychedelic pictorial worlds and allusions to the history of art and literature are omnipresent in the exhibition. The drawings, sounds, videos, books and ephemera brought together in this show compose a collective narrative that is not intended as a treatise on or mythologization of this scene and period, but as an anecdotal homage to Ticino, a place onto which ardent utopian longings have been projected ever since the back-to-nature Lebensreform movement around Gusto Gräser.
Photos: Flavio Karrer, Courtesy: Weiss Falk and the Artists