Claudia Jolles

  • Leni Hoffmann

    Leni Hoffmann’s installations are a kind of interactive sculpture that depend on the points where the space, the materials chosen, and the viewer intersect. Although she explicitly plays on the tradition of painting, her works have more to do with David Hammons’ snow balls than with Abstract Expressionism, since she also uses materials that are provocative in their impermanence as well as seemingly not worthy of an artist’s consideration. One might consider them easily formed conversation pieces. As in her other site-specific works, she used plastilene, a kind of modeling clay for children. It

  • Luc Tuymans

    Luc Tuymans has painted a discarded apple so that the side with the bite taken out of it is balanced on a gray line—the horizon. It is seen from an almost unreal perspective, as if under a magnifying glass, and one becomes uncertain whether it is a skull, an atomic cloud, or something else. The image comes from a photograph found in a police archive that shows an apple dropped by a perpetrator at the scene of a murder. From the indentation, the physiognomy of the murderer could be reconstructed, and, thus, he was apprehended.

    When one has been sensitized to this macabre aspect, one can feel it

  • Barbara Mühlefluh and Karin Hochstatter

    The juxtaposition of various artists’ works sometimes looks forced, but that was not the case in this exhibition. Visually the works of Barbara Mühlefluh and Karin Hochstatter are harmonious; both use ephemeral materials to create fixed points in space; neither can be placed in a known formal vocabulary—Mühlefluh through a combination of overdetermined yet crude objects, Hochstatter through the creation of forms with found materials that seem to dissipate in front of our eyes.

    Mühlefluh came to the fore with her 1991 installation at the Shedhalle and with her cushions for public benches. In these

  • Jean-Frédéric Schnyder

    The Swiss art world has had difficulty with Jean-Frédéric Schnyder, and it’s been ten years since his last exhibition of works, the majority of which went unsold. With these “leftovers” Schnyder has created a sort of retrospective. In the middle of the gallery he displayed the equipment he used when he was a “pleinairist.” At that time he was still considered a conceptual artist, and he had to learn how to paint. In reference to minor 19th-century figures, he called the paintings “Berner Veduten.” His canvases are the size of a backpack and depict the Bern cathedral, a children’s playground, a

  • Anya Gallaccio

    In the past, Anya Gallaccio has used chocolate, cactuses, and oranges in her work. In this exhibition, money was both the medium and the theme of her installation. She made a golden carpet of 50,000 5-rappen pieces, and although it might have seemed a cliché, in its sheer, physical presence the piece brought home its point better than any abstract concept could. The coins, with a value of 2,500 Swiss Francs or 1,000 English Pounds, covered an area of more than 15 square meters. Money here was a mere material—an abstraction without meaning. It had lost that magic that guarantees the compatability

  • Pipilotti Rist

    “Women’s philosophy should be brief, clear, and elegant,” a woman’s voice intones on the latest album of Les Reines Prochaines. The voice is that of Pipilotti Rist, who is a member of an all-female band. Her video installations seem drawn at once from life in the Middle Ages and life in the suburbs. Rist films and edits her videotapes herself. Even the title, Pickelporno (Pimple-porno, 1992), indicates that her work is concerned with sensual close-ups—with close-up shots of the skin that transform pimples and pores into potholes and stumbling blocks—and that the subjective magnifying glass

  • Andy Warhol

    “Truth lies in the surface, deep in the surface.” This comment by Robert Wilson about his theatrical productions is also applicable to Andy Warhol’s oeuvre—especially to the works of the ’60s on display here. Warhol privileged the surface—the surface of the work itself and of the age of the commodity. Numerous subjects more readily recognizable in their later, slicker versions are prefigured crudely here in pencil, and then painted, as in the antique telephone which floats in front of abstract doodles in brown and violet. In a second version from the same year, Warhol’s naturalism has become an

  • Christoph Rütimann

    Christoph Rütimann proves once again that you know what you see, but you don’t necessarily see what you know. As in his other installations and performances, in Villa Kraftstrasse 35, Eine Installation, (Villa Kraftstrasse 35, an installation, 1992) absurdity resided in the relationship of the individual elements to one another. If the continuous loop created in this exhibition were to lie on a table as a stereometric model, it would be unremarkable. One would probably only trace the line that it makes in three-quarter circles to define the six sides of an imaginary cube which simultaneously

  • Medical Hermeneutics

    The most important element in Die Schweitz + die Medizin (Switzerland + medicine, 1992), an installation by a group of young Moscow artists calling themselves Medical Hermeneutics, was not so much the work itself as a 90-page text that the group has written, a document that lays out the group’s phantom image of Switzerland, a country they had never visited before this exhibition. But only a fraction of these writings was presented here. The three members of the group—Pawel Pepperstein, Sergej Anufriew, and Wladimir Fjodorow—are obviously less concerned with transmitting facts than with demonstrating

  • Richard Tuttle

    In Richard Tuttle’s “According to the Dawn II,” 1992, one can clearly read the complex process that unfolds when a vague sensation is transferred onto a two-dimensional surface. The 12 monumental drawings in graphite and charcoal on paper are pasted onto stretched canvases. Wedged between the stretcher and the wall, a piece of cardboard, peeping out several millimeters on all four sides, constitutes a sort of frame behind the canvas. Every paper surface is subdivided into a grid of more or less regular pencil lines, interwoven with charcoal marks as plain as droplets on a windowpane. The lineation

  • Roman Signer

    Roman Signer has made a reputation for himself as a pyrotechnician, event artist, and producer of chain reactions and controlled catastrophes. For his public and private experiments, which he documents on video, he manipulates water, fire, wind, and earth with gunpowder, fuses, and dynamite. He is a low-tech magician who makes a visible process of liberating natural forces. In an exhibit of fuses and 13 cameras at the Kunsthalle in Freiburg, Switzerland this April, for example, he exploded a canoe in which he was crossing the river—and he almost sank, too.

    This exhibit contained objects that

  • Urs Frei

    Stalagtites, stalagmites, and a hodgepodge of nearly nauseating, shabby wall objects explode here in Urs Frei’s work. Frei has been making his presence felt throughout Switzerland over the past months with large, virulently energetic groups of works. Distancing himself from the unified presentation of his sewn, tied, and painted pillows, which, he ironically comments, only recently suggest that “he’s found himself,” he now confronts us with an an anarchy familiar from earlier phases of his work. In their re-presentation, the works contain unexpected potential. The disparate jumble turns out, on