Art in the Alps – what to see off the slopes
Issue 5 / 06 August 2018
Art in the Alps – what to see off the slopes

Enrich your time away from the slopes with our cultural guide to "Art in the Alps."

Serena Norton

Whilst you might not associate skiing with high culture, there are in fact many opportunities to enrich, inform, and enhance your experience in the Alps. Festivals, foundations, museums and galleries are flourishing in the region, and whilst many resorts have commercial galleries, it is only in recent years that we are seeing some more cutting-edge and experimental art hit the Alpine art scene. With this in mind we have put together a guide to "Art in the Alps", which includes must-see annual events and exhibitions.

Engadin Art Talks - Grace and Gravity

This art and architecture forum will take place for the eighth time on the weekend of the 26 & 27 January 2019 in Zuoz in the Engadin. The E.A.T are led by the internationally renowned curators Daniel Baumann, director of Kunsthalle Zurich, Bice Curiger, artistic director of the Vincent van Gogh Arles foundation, Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Gallery in London and Philip Ursprung, professor of art and architectural history at ETH Zurich.

This year the theme is “Grace and Gravity” which explores the relationship between structure and beauty.

Art Basel - bringing the international art world together

From 13 - 16 June 2019, art enthusiasts from all over the world will gather in the Swiss cultural capital of Basel to explore the works of over 4,000 artists. Leading galleries from around the globe participate in this popular event and there are many exhibitions and events on offer in Basel and the surrounding area. Discover a wide variety of modern and contemporary works including paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations, prints, photography, digital art and much more besides.

Art Basel also hosts a series of conversations on topics concerning the global contemporary art scene. The series includes a range of talks, panels and discussions with all sorts of cultural players, from artists, gallerists and curators to collectors, architects, lawyers and critics.

Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park and Residency - free art in the mountains

This non-profit organisation is committed to promoting environmentalism, education and culture through contemporary art. In 2016, a 5-year initiative to chronicle the impact of the surrounding glacial environment was launched. Uniting artists, locals and scientists, the initiative aims to capture insights through the medium of photography, sculpture and multimedia, alongside research, exhibitions and education programmes.

Each year the Verbier 3-D foundation announces an artist residency. This year the residency has been awarded to James Capper, the youngest ever artist to be awarded the prestigious Jack Goldhill Prize for Sculpture from the Royal Academy of Arts. His work will explore the 200 year anniversary of the Gietro Catastrophe, one of the most famous and disastrous historical events in the Swiss Alps related to climate change. Cappers most recent work, AERO CAB, draws attention to the role of the engineer in finding solutions in fragile environments like Verbier.

Kirchner Museum, Davos - bringing the landscape in

An exhibition in itself, the Kirchner Museum was commissioned by the Kircher Foundation which pays tribute to German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Kirchner came to Davos to recuperate after the First World War and this is where he remained until his work was condemned as ‘degenerate’, and thus confiscated from the museums by Nazi Germany. The defamation of his character and artistic work led to Kirchner taking his own lift in 1938.

Devised by architects Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer, the design of the Kirchner Museum strived to combine functionality with aesthetics, using the local conditions and surroundings as their inspiration. The result is a striking building combining glass, concrete, steel and wood which showcases wonderful views of the landscape beyond.

Upcoming exhibitions include “Hans Danuser - The Fujiyama of Davos”. Hans Danuser has been one of the most influential pioneers of the contemporary Swiss photography scene since the 1980s. Running from 25 November 2018 to 28 April 2019, the exhibition will focus on “Matography” - based image cycles revolving around mountain and volcanic motifs.

"The simple, crystalline building embraces the surrounding countryside that so greatly influenced the artist. "
"The simple, crystalline building embraces the surrounding countryside that so greatly influenced the artist. "

Galleries in St. Moritz - master of the arts

Art lovers are spoilt for choice in the exclusive resort of St. Moritz. With 13 galleries to choose from, it is no surprise that St. Moritz is regarded as one of the art hotspots in the Engadin. A number of international galleries have set up shop here, the first being Galerie Karsten Greve from Cologne in 1999 and more recently the Vito Schnabel Gallery (son of US American artist Julian Schnabel.)

Worth a visit is the long-established Galerie Gmurzynska which specialises in modern and contemporary art as well as Russian avant-garde. Robilant + Voena displays an unlikely combination of Old Masters and Modern Italians whilst Galerie Enrico Giacometti showcases iron furniture and sculptures. The St. Moritz Design Gallery is a particular stand-out, primarily for its location in the Serletta car park. Whilst taking a stroll down the pedestrian walkway and elevator from the Badrutt Palace Hotel to the lake, look out for eye-catching posters showcasing various themes, designed to entertain passers by.

The highlight of the calendar though is St. Moritz Art Masters, a 10 day arts and culture festival held in the last week of August every year. The theme for this year’s festival, which takes place from 31 August to 9 September, has yet to be announced but previous years have taken in a wide range of styles from American Art to Brazilian and Contemporary Art.

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