Max Wechsler

  • Max Wechsler

    Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

    Situations in need of clarification, or unknown circumstances surrounding an event that have to be brought to light, or a renewed inquiry, in an ontological sense, into the nature or essence of things or ideas, usually involve questions, but questions, except for didactic or rhetorical ones, are quite unusual in the context of scholarly art-historical exhibitions. In fact, such shows are often intended to nip questions in the bud, and even to provide answers to questions that hover in the air. Now along comes one of this genre of huge,

  • Joseph Beuys/Enzo/Cucchi/Anselm Kiefer/Jannis Kounellis

    The prelude to this exhibition was a large, long table with chairs that invited one to sit down and peruse a copy of the book on display. The table was the one from the Kunsthalle’s library around which these four artists met last year for extended discussions with Jean-Christophe Ammann, director of the Kunsthalle and organizer of this exhibit. The book, Ein Gespräch/Una Discussione (A discussion), contained the transcript of these talks. This “reading room,” an explicit component of the exhibition, informed us of the conceptual basis of the collaborative project, namely “discussion,” which

  • Olivier Mosset

    By lucky happenstance this retrospective of Olivier Mosser’s work from 1965 to 1985 coincided with a group show at the Centre d’art contemporain, Geneva, in which Mosset presented some of his most recent paintings. These latest works indicate a shift away from the flat monochromatic painting that Mosser has practiced rigorously since 1977, the year of his move from Paris to New York, and toward a more painterly abstraction. If we look at Masset’s work as a whole, this most recent development can be seen less as a continuation of his previous painting than as a new interest in a new motif. Yet

  • Terry Winters

    The Terry Winters exhibition in Lucerne encompassed a representative selection of the artist’s drawings and paintings from 1982 to 1985. Its emphasis was on the documentation of his recent work; however, it also provided insights into preceding stages of Winters’ development through a judicious selection of relatively early drawings. This miniretrospective was mounted, no doubt, because Winters had not yet had a one-man show in Europe; but it is also extremely appropriate in terms of the nature of his work. In Winters’ oeuvre, the concept of “development,” or of derivation in a biological or

  • Aldo Walker

    It would not be contradictory to say that Aldo Walker carries the principle of clarity in his images to the point where it becomes enigmatic and puzzlelike. Although the ambiguity of the images may entice the viewer to see them in terms of the age-old game of the picture puzzle, their visual clarity foils any attempt to assign a definitive, unequivocal meaning. Paradoxically, the jarring aspect of these drawings derives from their being so carefully calculated, a quality expressed not only in their deliberative execution—precise white-line brushwork on a monochromatic (usually black) ground—but

  • Ernesto Tatafiore

    This carefully organized exhibition of Ernesto Tatafiore’s drawings brought together works from the last ten years in a very free arrangement which playfully avoided chronological ordering and programmatic grouping. The show’s format skillfully moved the theme of the exhibition—the figure of French revolutionary-leader Maximilien François Isidore de Robespierre—to the center of attention, while also making clear that the theme was not the object of a stylistic evolution.

    Regardless of its compositional completeness, each work is only a facet of the larger metaphorical construction that constitutes

  • “Dream and Reality: Vienna 1870–1930”

    In the last several years, turn-of-the-century Vienna has been the subject of a number of exhibitions which have variously explored the creative potential of this fascinating cultural landscape. The most important of these retrospectives was certainly last year’s special show Le Arti a Vienna, at the Venice Biennale. The new and significant aspect of “Dream and Reality” was that, for once, the exploration took place in ’‘Vienna itself.

    The scholarly concept behind the show, as conceived by Robert Waissenberger, divided the enormous wealth of material into 24 sections. Each of these centered on


    THE PARC LULLIN, IN GENTHOD, near Geneva, is a generous 18th-century park extending over a gently inclined meadow, and through a small patch of thick forest, from a villa at the highest point of the town to the shores of Lac Leman. It is one of those mildly domesticated landscapes as conducive to pleasure as to thought, a place that flatters the senses and creates in the visitor a feeling of contemplative relaxation. Here, the pursuit of an idea easily ends in a digression, and digression quite matter-of-factly intensifies into perception. But though the Pare Lullin often conjures up rêverie

  • Mario Merz

    Mario Merz’s large-scale retrospective here was a kind of work of art in its own right—a platform for discussion, seeking not so much affirmation of a career as a farsighted perspective on new dimensions of creativity. The dynamic proliferation, the breaking of boundaries, that so deeply characterize Merz’s work were also the essential quality of the installation as a whole. Consequently, the individual works were squeezed together in such a way that they appeared to want to force themselves on each other and reproduce, independently of the artist’s control. Each individual work did maintain

  • Hans Haacke

    This retrospective, mounted by Berlin’s Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst and the Bern Kunsthalle, demonstrated Hans Haacke’s development of an increasingly pictorial, increasingly material expression. In his earlier works a dogmatic rhetoric often seemed to take over the picture, but in the recent pieces here it recedes into the background, integrating itself discreetly in the pictorial discourse. The message ends up stronger, the image more ambiguous and rich in meaning. This seems appropriate to the complexity of the political and corporate relations that Haacke explores, and it also

  • Martin Disler

    These seven canvases announce Martin Disler’s breakthrough into new pictorial dimensions. No longer does the radicality of his painting manifest itself in excess, in the overflowing of boundaries that he had earlier worked up into a panoramic vision. Now that radicality is condensed into contained bodies of color. This new concentration suggests not a narrowing but a deepening of Disler’s art. The recent works are oil paintings; Disler has obviously found in oil a medium that offers a resistance to his hot temper, the ecstatic anger out of which he seems to make his art. Oil both provides a


    The Furka Pass, over 7,500 feet above sea level near the Rhône glacier, is a spare, raw, mountainous region accessible by the pass road for only three to four months each summer. This is the kind of wild landscape that stimulates perception through the deep sense of awe it arouses. The Furka is a deserted place—a hotel at its top has long been closed, and today the only traffic on the road is of people there for pleasure. In a figurative sense, the isolated splendor of the pass can be seen as symbolically appropriate to the situation of art and the artist.

    On June 24, 1983, at noon, James Lee