Mar 23 – May 20, 2017
Vanessa Billy, Valentin Carron, Julian Charriere, Gina Folly, Fabian Marti, Hannah Weinberger
Freshwater Fish deals with issues of locality, culture and nature, while touching upon sensorial memories instilled in individuals from an early age, influencing the way they experience the world throughout their lives. The essence of the show revolves around the question of what nature means to us, and how concepts and representations of nature change in the context of historical, political, and cultural development. The exhibition addresses a wide spectrum of senses in the process of illustrating this, and the arrangement of these works together is meant to question the mere possibility of truly adjusting to a new surroundings – a question encapsulated in the image of a fish’s transition from freshwater to saltwater.
Common to all artists featured in the exhibition is a desire to deal with nature, earth and landscapes, in addition to a preoccupation with the mechanisms creating our perception of them. Another common ground they share – perhaps an additional aspect of one’s “cultural climate” – is the spirit of Dada echoing in their works, showing a great deal of respect towards both tradition and ingenuity. This perspective is inseparable from the manner in which they set out to explore issues of technology, imagined social progress and the status of art itself.
Focusing specifically on artists working in Switzerland today as well as Swiss-born, this exhibition brings forward different approaches towards the intricate notion of human perspective and the way it is shaped – while drawing a thin line between the personal and the political. Curated by Irit Fine Sommer, Freshwater Fish reflects a personal transition that inspired a deep exploration of the aforementioned issues. For 20-some years, Fine Sommer had been living as that “freshwater fish” in saltwater, experiencing a new and foreign environment while still carrying a distant set of senses and associations with her. Upon a recent return to her hometown, feelings of alienation were replaced with childhood memories, sounds and smells, which resonated with her in a deeper way than she had conceived.