On Thursday 28 November at 7 p.m. the independent space Kunstraum am Schauplatz (Praterstrasse 42, 2. Hof, Wien) opens the exhibition entitled "If It Moves, It's Outmoded"? focused on the new Swiss kinetic art. It includes nine Swiss artists, mostly young, with the participation of an American artist. The exhibition is curated by Riccardo Lisi, director of the space la rada (Locarno) and author of the curatorial research of the same name, funded by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Foundation for Culture. The title of the research and exhibition is taken from a verse from a poem (from Angle of Yaw, page 45) by the American writer Ben Lerner:
"If it hangs from the wall, it's a painting. If it rests on the floor, it's a sculpture. If it's very big or very small, it's conceptual. If it forms part of the wall, if it forms part of the floor, it's architecture. If you have to buy a ticket, it's modern. If you are already inside it and you have to pay to get out of it, it's more modern. If you can be inside it without paying, it's a trap. If it moves, it's outmoded. If you have to look up, it's religious. If you have to look down, it's realistic. If it's been sold, it's sitespecific. If, in order to see it, you have to pass through a metal detector, it's public." The curator comes from one of the countries where kinetic art was born - Italy - and where, as elsewhere, this trend has weakened over time; working in Switzerland he was amazed at how much it is still present in Swiss artistic production. This can perhaps be linked to the different cultural characteristics of a truly unique nation, starting with its multilingualism. In Switzerland, language is not as binding as elsewhere. Here we find the overcoming of language and the prevalence of vision. The metaphor and the ellipse replace the textual description. Huristics replaces historiography and the rational sphere of téchne is also used to obtain non-rational and phantasmagorical results. This freedom from the rigidity of writing a concept in a single, tetragonal language can be seen as a founding element of an important aspect of Swiss art, namely visionary nature. Here something else seems to emerge, especially in the temporal distance from the bachelor machines of Tinguely and other authors. In Switzerland, many artists are tempted to create new types of art objects, new formal domains. Works that seem to free themselves from purely expressive categories and contents. A land that wanted to be self-determined since the end of the 13th century and that has reached very high levels of wealth perhaps allows us to imagine more easily the new, the different, the amazing.
Like the site resulting from the research, ifitmoves.ch, this exhibition also brings together very different forms of kinetic art, a term to which the curator wanted to give a very broad sense. In some cases the movement has already taken place or is purely potential, possible in the future. At Kunstraum am Schauplatz the surprising mechanical works of Luca Minotti, which move with fire and heat, will be exhibited, as well as sound sculptures such as those of the American Harry Druzd and Elisa Storelli. A complex mechanism, capable of making a radiator dance, is inherent in Bastien Gachet's work on display and particularly playful is Cassidy Toner's kinetic sculpture, in which a rag heart is frightened to hide in a garbage bag. A particularly versed author in kinetic art is Ramon Feller, who has created works specifically for this exhibition; his Zurich studio is shared with Brigham Baker, who has created works connected to natural elements that are normally little considered - in this case dust and insects that fight on windows to the point of death. Christine Boillat's work is also ingenious and lyrical, while the series of works by Elodie Pong is light and elegant. Gysin + Vanetti, a Ticino duo already chosen for the opening exhibition of MUDA, the museum of digital art in Zurich, uses both electromechanical and digital technologies with great irony.
The exhibition will last until January 18, 2020, with the usual opening from Wednesday to Friday, from 15 to 18 and by appointment (tel. +43 681 81939710), free admission. On the opening night, it will be possible to see two sculptures - by Luca Minotti and Harry Druzd - in operation, which will then only be visible on video.