Hans Rudolf Reust

  • Bernard Voïta, Jalousie I (Venetian Blinds I), 2017, thermo-lacquered steel, 91 3/8 × 51 1/8 × 96 1/2“ (open), 70 7/8 × 51 1/8 × 2 3/4” (closed).

    Bernard Voïta

    Two unexpected objects awaited us at the entrance to Bernard Voïta’s exhibition “Hétérotopies (Heterotopias).” On the left wall, a ribbon of shiny red metal folded out into the room from a metal frame like a bizarre relief. Angled on hinges, it changed direction several times only to return to the structure anchoring it. It was as if a line zigzagging across a luminous painting had attempted a daring escape into the third dimension before being folded back into the picture’s two-dimensional surface. This was Jalousie I (Venetian Blinds I, all works 2017). The name alludes to a Venetian blind,

  • Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Considered Unrepresentative, 2016, powder-coated steel and galvanized metal, 51 1/8 × 23 5/8 × 17 3/4". Photo: Peter Baracchi.

    Koenraad Dedobbeleer

    The low, bulging cast-iron stove was firmly connected to the architecture of the exhibition space by a shiny new tin stovepipe. At the entrance to a gallery whose glazed frontage suggests modern comforts such as central heating, it felt misplaced yet strangely familiar, an object from a distant past. The small, mostly black-and-white, wood-framed photographic prints in Koenraad Dedobbeleer’s exhibition “Images Entertain Thought” similarly played with the gulf between past and present.

    Specifically, these images emphasized the gulf between the objects they depict and the long history of the

  • View of “Erik Steinbrecher,” 2016.

    Erik Steinbrecher

    In a show at Stampa’s suite of rooms, you always experience everything twice: once on your way in, and again on your way out, your journey usually interrupted by a side trip to the bookstore that sends you off on further jaunts of the imagination. I’ll begin this tale in the gallery’s back room, as one might run a film backward: A red parasol, set in a white plastic stand and adorned with a glowing lightbulb dangling on a long cord, cheerfully arched above a loose assemblage of found and artist-made objects arranged on the pale wood floor, as if the sun were shining indoors. Scattered elements

  • View of “Ana Roldán,” 2016. Photo: Andreas Furrer.

    Ana Roldán

    Placed at the back of the gallery was Lacking the Real (all works 2016), a folding screen composed of double-sided mirrors that reflected a fractured image of Ana Roldán’s exhibition “NO,” including its visitors, while concealing what was behind it from any inquisitive glances—a seemingly simple device that nonetheless introduced an uncanny disruption into the space of the gallery. Lying on the floor in front of this reflective partition was Elsewhere, a flat, round stone across which a blue, many-armed form, like an abstract octopus, extends a set of truncated tentacles. Here, too, a gap

  • Bethan Huws, Frog, 2011, wig stand, fur hat, toy frog, 17 × 11 × 11 3/4".

    Bethan Huws

    “If I were a frog I’d live in a fountain”: The very title of Bethan Huws’s recent exhibition told a little story. But this was no fairy tale—the idea of a frog who is really an enchanted prince waiting to be transformed by a kiss holds no interest for her. If she were a frog (or a Frenchman?) she’d be wide-awake and sitting precisely where Marcel Duchamp began his role-playing game with the readymade—namely, in the “fountain.”

    In 2007, Huws made a neon work bearing the words AU FOND DU CERVEAU IL Y A UNE FONTAINE. In 2009, he made a version featuring the English translation—AT THE

  • Bruno Jakob, Flesh Net, 1995, two canvases, one canvas board, one framed photograph, one framed work on paper. Installation view. Photo: Thomas Strub.

    Bruno Jakob

    During Bice Curiger’s 2011 Venice Biennale, Tintoretto’s complex spatial structures and supersensory lighting dominated the entrance to the central pavilion in the Giardini. But facing them was a white wall with a small label identifying it as the site of a painting by Bruno Jakob that had already evanesced, existing only in the artist’s recollection or the viewer’s imagination: Jakob paints with water or vapor, or by endowing a raw or primed ground with mental substance. His most recent exhibition, “Hovering and Pulsing,” assembled works created between 1986 and the present to survey a microcosm

  • Christoph Rütimann, Waagenbank (Bench of Scales), 1996, 122 scales, MDF, 1' 6 1/2“ × 13' 5 3/8” × 1' 3/4".

    Christoph Rütimann

    Long-standing and fruitful relationships between artists and their galleries have become exceptionally rare. Mai 36 Galerie and Christoph Rütimann, however, share a history that goes back three decades and now underlies an exhibition whose density and wide chronological range—it includes work created between 1984 and 2014—make it a sort of scale model for a larger retrospective.

    In an early piece, LAW, 1986, the artist literally puts the lid on Duchamp’s Fountain, 1917: The black oval toilet lid, mounted on the wall like a painted panel so that its underside is on display, recalls the

  • Marc-Antoine Fehr, Der Verschollene (The Man Who Disappeared), 2013, oil on canvas, 9' 1/4“ x 13' 1 1/2”.

    Marc-Antoine Fehr

    Two masks flutter toward each other, butterfly-like, in a carnivalesque duet, overlapping as though they might join together to form a single face, only to drift apart again in free fall through an infinitely luminous blue after this brief encounter: This is what we see in Marc-Antoine Fehr’s Le Baiser (The Kiss), 2013. The large-format painting is divided into a grid of seventy-seven rectangles recalling the frames of a filmstrip. The masks sport brightly painted faces, which tumble in many different directions through the work’s neatly demarcated sections, while their interiors, which are a

  • Pierre-Olivier Arnaud, Untitled (abstract), 2013, silk screen on paper, 68 7/8 x 47 1/4". Skopia.

    Pierre-Olivier Arnaud

    Close-up photographs of lush blossoms—flowers at their most seductive—were a highlight of Pierre-Olivier Arnaud’s recent show at Skopia. And yet this seductiveness seemed to come at us from a distance, muted by the photographic medium itself. Although the size of the prints—many are quite large—gives them a real presence, they have an almost faded, washed-out look to them, like afterimages asserting a merely transient effect on our retinas or as if we had glimpsed the blossoms by the light of long-extinguished galaxies in the night sky. A reduction of all contrasts turned

  • Antonio Calderara, Figura al Sole (Figure in the Sun), 1949, oil on wood panel, 6 1/4 x 5 1/8".

    Antonio Calderara

    The first work one saw after entering this show was a well-considered introduction to the art of Antonio Calderara (1903–1978): a small, slightly vertical composition of rectangles reminiscent of the terrain around Lake Orta in the far north of Italy, where the artist led his reclusive life. The surface of this painting, Studio, 1959, is sharply divided into a pattern of right angles using delicate shades of gray, blue, white, and pink, which can be viewed either as an almost monochromatic abstraction or as a kind of landscape with a house in the foreground, a lake in the middle, and a house on

  • View of “Anne Chu,” 2013. From top: Putti (no. 8 of 13), 2012; Putti (no. 9 of 13), 2012.

    Anne Chu

    Animula vagula blandula” (Pale Little Vagabond Soul), the title of this exhibition, which reads like a cantata of sonorous vowels, is the opening line of a poem by the Roman emperor Hadrian. In these words are echoes of sensuality, playfulness, and late-Roman decadence—in any case, the consciousness of living in a late era that cannot long survive in its present form. With this citation, Anne Chu refers to the Memoirs of Hadrian as opulently and unironically imagined by the novelist Marguerite Yourcenar from the perspective of the dying emperor: “A good three-quarters of my life escapes

  • View of “Alex Hanimann,” 2012.

    Alex Hanimann

    The temporary exhibitions mounted in the former industrial space that is now MAMCO almost never claim the status of “autonomous” solo shows; instead they demonstrate the complex facets of a contemporary art museum. This is particularly evident in MAMCO’s recent exhibition of Alex Hanimann, whose work can readily be linked to Conceptual art. Hanimann, who hails from the northeastern corner of Switzerland, near the border with Germany and Austria, concerns himself with syntax and semantics in several languages, and more broadly with questions pertaining to the philosophy of language. What is most