Hans Rudolf Reust

  • Guido Nussbaum

    In the past, the globe, that model of the world as it appears from God’s perspective, inspired great strategists while encouraging them to gloss over the facts on the ground. These days, our view of the world alternates in a seamless zoom between images of outer space and individual buildings on Google Earth. We’ve become accustomed to clicking a mouse to choose between galaxies, continents, and street ad-dresses, in each case having direct access to details. For decades now, Guido Nussbaum has been studying images of our earth and painting pictures based on them. Nuss-baum is not a distanced

  • Tim Zulauf

    Under the directorship of Andrea Thal, the Zurich art space Les Complices* has in recent years become a hot spot of activity in the interstice between society and art. The name evokes an attitude: Complex projects are planned and launched “conspiratorially,” while authorship is something created through the dynamic interaction of management and staff. So it is no coincidence that Tim Zulauf’s latest theatrical project, Der Bau der Wörter (The Construction of Words), 2010, had its starting point here: After buying a ticket at Les Complices, one was handed a book titled Tagebuch einer Planung (

  • John Armleder

    After walking only a few feet from the St. Gallen train station, you might find yourself drawn—like light being sucked into the eye through the pupil—into a round opening at the entrance to the station’s nineteenth-century Lokremise, or roundhouse. At the edges of the big turntable that once rotated locomotives, six huge glass portals set into a delicate crescent-shaped addition welcome you to the various parts of a new cultural center: a theater, restaurant and bar, cinema, and exhibition/performance space. Hauser & Wirth gallery has already put on a show in this spectacular building,

  • Constantin Wallhäuser

    Right in the entryway of this show loomed the projected image of a “carousel” made of wooden table legs and staircase balusters. Three steps farther in, behind the wall on which this was projected, was a room that seemed like a hidden world. Here one saw in reality the jury-rigged carousel one had just seen in the video loop; the sound of the projection gave the regular, swaying motion of the various shapes an almost meditative sense of inevitability. Between the projection in the entryway and this procession of wooden furniture parts, the boundary between image and real space began to blur.

  • Bernard Voïta

    Bernard Voïta’s “Paysages ahah,” 2009–10, are photographic landscapes the likes of which you’ve never before seen. Their intricately nested spaces blend together uncanny microcosms and idyllic expanses, as if in some fantastic dream—or nightmare. How strange that your eye can never rest in these pictures, cannot simply luxuriate in them. These are not postcards of recognizable, manicured gardens. Their color is not really colorful: An overall silver, yellow, or violet shimmer keeps merging into blackness or blazes of brightness, showing to what extent the boundaries between literal and invented

  • Wilhelm Sasnal

    This show really began two days before its opening date, with a screening at a local movie theater. Painter Wilhelm Sasnal directed and also largely served as cameraman for Swiniopas (Swineherd), 2008, his first 35-mm film—eighty-five minutes long, black-and-white, in Polish with English subtitles. The work is surprising in several respects: The simple story, set on a dilapidated farm in postwar Poland, is presented in a straightforward manner but unleashes a drastic and relentless series of events, just like the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale whose title it shares. Characters—from the grumpy

  • Zhang Enli

    Zhang Enli is dissatisfied with the image of contemporary Chinese art as defined by pop and politics. For him, the most commonplace objects are what connects China to the rest of the world: tables, chairs, benches, pots, boxes. The artist has moved away from his former, wildly gestural and figurative pictures to arrive at a sober style of painting featuring a smaller range of hues distributed over fewer fields and depicting everyday things. As peaceful and intimate as these recent paintings—in an exhibition previously seen at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK—first appear, they offer a drastically

  • “Fragile Monuments”

    Bob van Orsouw invited Eva Scharrer to serve as guest curator for the second exhibition in his new project room, Suzie Q. The result was a small group show bringing together six artists currently living in Switzerland. “Fragile Monuments” assembled a range of skeptical positions regarding the grand public monument, a fitting sentiment in a small country with a long tradition of direct democracy and strategic understatement. But perhaps more importantly, these artists explore the notion of fragility in relation to modernism’s heroic claims, particularly its championing of the self-reflexivity of

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    There are moments of sheer horror when language fails us and images are wordlessly burned into our memory. Again and again, Thomas Hirschhorn has incorporated images like these in his installations, creating contexts that allow them to speak. In his most recent work, the series “Ur-Collagen” (Ur-Collages), 2008, he returns to the most basic form of the collage as a constellation of two images. In each of the works, he covers part of a two-page spread from a fashion magazine with a picture from the Internet showing charred and tattered human bodies or remnants of corpses left lying in the street.

  • “Shifting Identities”

    About every ten years, the Kunsthaus Zurich exhibits an interpretive cross-section of the newest contemporary Swiss art. In “Shifting Identities,” the institution’s curator, Mirjam Varadinis, set out to capture yet another turning tide in the country’s art scene, using sixty-seven artists as points of reference. Along with the mobility of many Swiss artists, whose studios are now located in Berlin or elsewhere, the inclusion of a number of international figures with no relation to the country—but whose works address the notion of identity—made it difficult to categorize these pieces simply in

  • Manon

    The title of this show, “Manon—A Person,” suggested that the artist’s first retrospective was not meant simply to gather works but that instead, through works and documents, a woman, a whole human being, was being presented—and indeed, this was the only way to do justice to a personality who has been as much a myth as a real person since her first appearances in Zurich in the early 1970s. “Manon,” a pseudonym, has a tone somewhere between the familiarity of a first name and the distance of a diva, ruler of her own desires as well as of those she awakens. Early on, the artist linked art to fashion

  • Stefan Brüggemann

    I CAN’T EXPLAIN AND I WON’T EVEN TRY. This polemically pointed statement, affixed to a wall in the Kunsthalle in big shiny black vinyl letters, read like a challenge to the critic preparing to review Stefan Brüggemann’s show. This linguistic gesture of refusal—a 2008 work titled after its content—was only the beginning of a novel and utterly fascinating reflection on the current state of art. Brüggemann’s turns of phrase are invariably meant to be taken literally, but they also form a carefully defined set of statements that negate and comment on one another in the context created by the show—as

  • Didier Rittener

    Even before entering the main exhibition hall, visitors encountered stark white letters in thick profusion on the blackened walls: BLACK SPECK, LIQUID CENTER, RALENTIR LES IMAGES (slow down the images), LES CONTOURS DU FOU SONT NETS (the contours of the madman are sharp), LA MEMBRANE DU RÉEL (the membrane of the real), WILDERNESS. And then, like the inscription on the portal to the underworld in some classical legend, one last message was written in an ornate script on the entrance door: DISPARAÎTRE ICI (vanish here). The memory of these words continued to accompany us as we plunged into a visual

  • Vanessa van Obberghen

    Belgian artist Vanessa van Obberghen has been traveling to Dakar for several years. In her work, for the most part photographs and multi-media installations, she investigates transcultural exchange. A key to unpacking “Big Wig,” her tightly structured recent exhibition in Zurich, was provided by an untitled video projection, 2006–2007, showing a white man attempting to find his rhythm while surrounded by a group of people (both white and black) dancing; he never succeeds. The dance motif is reprised in three light boxes, BIG WIG (Zi KhR 1), BIG WIG (Zi KhR 2), and BIG WIG (Zi KhR 3) (all 2007),

  • Marie José Burki

    The interior of the Helmhaus in Zurich, ordinarily sun flooded, was almost hermetically sealed off from the outside world during the course of Marie José Burki’s exhibition. The all-encompassing darkness, combined with a silence broken only at intervals, created the feeling of a place outside time. Entering the black cubes of the gallery rooms, one was irresistibly drawn in by seven video projections that filled the walls, panoramas of an eternal holiday: Images drifted slowly past, at times almost static, depicting moments leading up to or following a wild party, its details left to our

  • Bethan Huws

    Over the years, Bethan Huws has followed a consistently meandering course; she has moved between England and Wales, and her work has encompassed images, buildings, objects, talks, and film. The manifest variety of her artistic expression has produced an all-encompassing topography of reflection on the location of a work of art, the role of the artist, and different ways to think about art. Since childhood, Huws has created small boats out of dried reeds, a local tradition in Wales, where the artist grew up. These tiny objects reappear as a motif in a series of watercolors and texts. In this

  • Hans Stalder

    A bullfinch is perched high up on a flowering branch, its body flowing into a stylized sky, as if the picture—Spatz (Sparrow), 2005—were seeking to make us forget the difference between figure and ground. The clear red contour lines seem to disappear briefly when attention wanders; they are interrupted periodically, the breaks reminiscent of gaps in the memory of something one knows well. The branch, with sharply delineated leaves and fruit, fl oats on the surface of the painting in such a way that even a richly colored clarity is seen only fleetingly. Stalder uses simplicity in the plural:

  • Pia Fries

    The impressive series of solo exhibitions organized by the Kunstmuseum Winterthur continues with this show of seventy paintings and a dozen works on paper made between 1991 and 2006 by Swiss-born artist Pia Fries, who has been working in Düsseldorf for more than twenty-five years.

    The impressive series of solo exhibitions organized by the Kunstmuseum Winterthur continues with this show—curated by Dieter Schwarz—of seventy paintings and a dozen works on paper made between 1991 and 2006 by Swiss-born artist Pia Fries, who has been working in Düsseldorf for more than twenty-five years. Her vibrant impasto painting lends a new quality to abstraction through the interplay of empty spaces in the picture plane. The objectlike nature of the brushstrokes in her more recent works, several of which incorporate collaged reproductions of images of plants and

  • Armen Eloyan

    A large-format narrative conveyed through extreme gestures: the next chapter in the story of figurative painting. Armen Eloyan turns up the volume and directs his own spotlights. TV Room (all works 2006): In the middle of a painterly maelstrom stuffed with props in a very wide landscape format, as if in the midst of a wide-screen movie, two gnomes sit in front of the TV set, staring silently into space, smoking joints, motionless, side by side on a garishly colored sofa, like the gang from South Park. No surprise, then, that this exhibition is titled “Comic-Related Paintings.” One wearing a top

  • Al Taylor

    I vividly remember spending hours looking out the window of Al Taylor’s studio in Manhattan at the corner of Twentieth Street and Park Avenue. It was a privileged view. There was always a lot going on at the colorful intersection—a constant stream of traffic and sudden, surprising movements in the wild exchange of people and cars. One’s vision became gradually more contemplative, as the easy conversation started to take on its own improvisational rules, veering between logic and free association. Taylor died in 1999. What remain are the meandering traces of his thought and observations.

    This show