#KUNST im WEST (#vernissage 10.09.2013)
It is certainly not one of the trendiest and most hipster gallery which Zurich has to offer. However Kunst im West has a tiny fascinating story behind and a clear mission: to promote Swiss Art. Only.
Imagine the most industrial area of Zurich, the one who has undergone a massive makeover over the last few years and has become home to the Prime Tower: in this scenario we can find Kunst im West, a “galerie fuer Zeitgenoessische Schweizer Kunst”. Works from artists like Nicolai Schiess, Marianne Schweizer, Thomas Schweizer, Thomas Stadler and Daniel Svaton are now exhibited in the spacious open space adjacent to Koller Auction House.
This Gallery is in fact a branch of the auction house and was founded by the wife of Mr. Koller, Mrs. Ursula Koller Lehner. The idea was to group and unite young Swiss artists under the same roof, in order to highlight the of local of what Switzerland has to offer. The gallery sees itself as a platform for the launch and showcase of a selected panel of young Swiss artists with proven sales track in the Swiss market. The target of this market is a cultivated and informed public.
The impression I gathered during the vernissage (10.09.2013) is that this gallery is certainly devoted to local national art, but not to young Swiss artists in particular. Or maybe not in particular during this opening. Works were interesting and conservative at the same time, whilst the crowd that was populating the spacious rooms were engaged, cultivated but not the uni types anymore.
The atmosphere was quiet and intimate, many people around were close friends of the artists and they were really studying, I had the impression, the objects exposed: touching the wood, moving them around, figuring how that particular piece would fit in who-knows corner of their villa or flat.
Prices for the earthy and soulful wooden sculpture of Thomas Stadler were ranging from 3’000 chf to 5’000 chf – each piece was unique and lived many stages and lives before landing in the gallery. As the artist himself explained, each sculpture is a process, not a simple technical repetitive gesture that brings to the final outcome. Definitely fascinating and worthy.
Paintings were not quite as impressive or original as the wooden sculptures, but in Nicolai Schiess’s ones there was still something striking in their simplicity.
All in all, it was a pleasant opening. What I could appreciate was surely this deep dive into Swiss art and the company of more mature people who really love and understand art without that ostentatious attitude and outfits that sometimes characterize art events and vernissages. I prefer to focus on the outfit only.