Max Wechsler

  • Balthasar Burkhard

    Balthasar Burkhard works with photographs, which means that his pictures partake of an illusionist medium whose material character is distinctly superficial. It’s hard, in other words, for photographs to develop their own sensual presence apart from whatever object or scene they depict. These givens of photography are important to Burkhard’s work, for ultimately his oeuvre is to be understood at least in part as a subversive probing and challenging of the medium per se.

    Burkhard’s approach is as straightforward as possible: no toying with the motif or object of the (re)produced image, no laboratory

  • Guido Nussbaum

    The works of Guido Nussbaum are characterized chiefly by a wrong-headed posing of problems that is usually solved with visual elegance. However, this somewhat exaggerated statement does not quite cover the matter. The wrongheadedness, rather than serving the idea of originality as an end in itself, arises from a highly self-conscious treatment of the subject matter. Thus, to a certain extent, Die Nasentafel (Nose tablet, 1988), a small oil painting on a tablet, is a consistent extension of the theme of the sensory organs—a subject often treated by this artist. In the upper half of the piece we

  • Ian Anüll

    Ian Anüll’s exhibitions always turn out to be highly ambivalent installations of work. The artist operates largely with found items, both material and spiritual; he undermines their meaning, allows them to function on different levels according to the given context. Consider Trademark, 1988, a small sculpture painted red and mounted on the wall like a console, on the front of which is placed a big, white, circled R (the international symbol of a registered trademark). This piece becomes a kind of thematic leitmotif, ironically alienating all the works in the show. On the one hand, it sovereignly

  • Hugo Suter

    The pièce de résistance of this concentrated survey of Hugo Suter’s work is, no doubt, Gläserner Bilderzaun (Paravent) (Glass picture fence [screen]), begun in 1978. This classic work in progress has already expanded into 49 sections (each 69 by 39 inches). The current show offers the last 36 sections in the form of two 18-part “picture fences,” set up as parallel, mirrorlike zigzags. Each individual section consists of a wooden-frame construction and is connected by hinges to the section next to it. The resulting assemblage is somewhat reminiscent of a row of windows. The metaphor of the window

  • Sigmar Polke—Zeichnungen 1963–1969

    BOUND IN DARK-BLUE LINEN, with a cover drawing stamped in silver (as are the words on the spine), this meticulously printed volume of Sigmar Polke’s early drawings is an imposing proposition. The easily manageable weight of the splendid publication, then, is a real surprise, yet clearly one more reflection of its publisher’s mission. For this volume is no bibliophile artwork in the conventional sense—it is more a labor of love. Publisher Johannes Gachnang clearly decided on the generous size of the book to correspond to the format of drawings superbly reproduced within, yet he also selected a

  • Christian Lindow

    Aside from one sculpture, this exhibition focused on 11 pieces from the cycle of “Zwetschgen-Bilder” (Plum paintings, 1987–88). The small sculpture, L’etoile des eaux-vives (Star of living waters, 1986), belongs to an earlier phase. It was not meant as a retrospective element or a reference to the sculptural component that has always been present in Lindow’s oeuvre; rather, this bronze casting of a modeled female torso acted as a deliberate embodiment of contradiction, a kind of stumbling block. Its goal was to draw attention to Lindow’s characteristic way of dealing with the pictorial object

  • Rémy Zaugg

    The very title of this exhibition, “Für ein Bild” (For a picture), already suggests that the works ask a great deal from the viewer, perceptually and intellectually. For more than twenty years now, Rémy Zaugg has been studying the complex problem of perception, and some of his findings could be examined here in this challenging show. The “picture” evoked by the title consists of several approaches to the true nature of the image, which, as an artwork, is located in twofold reality between ideal fiction and material truth. Zaugg explores the theme of perception within the semantic framework that

  • Andreas Gehr

    Here in the refectory of the former cloister of Saint Catherine, which has been transformed into an exhibition space, the Toronto-based Swiss artist Andreas Gehr presented a few examples of his sculptures from the past two years. The show consisted of six works, most of them made almost entirely of glass. Although in certain earlier pieces by Gehr glass constituted an important element, now it has a more profound, structural significance, involving not only the specific quality of the material and its expressive dimension, but also the very concept of the sculptural process. Here, sculpture, as

  • Henri Michaux

    Under the title “Peinture–Ecriture” (Painting–Writing) this exhibition brought together 100 works by Henri Michaux, a French artist of Belgian origin who died in 1984. It documented the last thirty years of his artistic career. Michaux belongs to that illustrious group, the poet-painters and painter-poets, but his visual work is hardly ever an illustration of his poetic work. Similarly, his writing can hardly ever be seen as a description or a reflexion of his paintings—that is, when the essence of painting does not itself become the theme of his reflections. His paintings remain independent

  • David Rabinowitch

    David Rabinowitch’s art is basically sculptural, but ever since 1980 he has been producing a series of drawings under the overall title “Ottonian Construction of Vision.” These are not sketches or designs for sculptures, but autonomous images concretely situated in the medium of drawing, derived from a free investigation of themes based on sketching and draftsmanship. The origin of these themes can be pinpointed in the Romanesque architecture of the Rhineland, especially the churches of Cologne. In the course of continuous work, Rabinowitch crystallized these themes into a set of variations on

  • Thomas Huber

    “When we look at a painting,” says Thomas Huber, “we’re faced with an enigma. It becomes apparent in the distance that we perceive there, the strange illusion of depth of the pictorial space. Looking at the painting, we feel as if we were entering it, but in fact we stay just where we began, on the surface. . . . The viewer is caught between these two poles—the depth perspective of the painting and the fact that it has been painted.” This passage, from Huber’s text Das Hochzeitsfest (The wedding feast)—a text that he wrote to accompany his series of paintings of the same name—refers to a property

  • Jean-Frédéric Schnyder

    The very last part of this exhibition of the work of Jean-Frédéric Schnyder provided a key to the whole. There, in the final gallery, was a concentrated survey of his sculptural work from the '70s, wood carvings and ceramic pieces that demonstrated his obvious enjoyment of the process of solving the problems involved in making such objects—for instance, the two “bamboo sticks,” 1972, that he carved from local wood—and his highly conceptual approach to his work. For the rest of the show consisted of 438 paintings that Schnyder painted since September 13, 1982, representing his attempt to capture