“Switzerland”

Cynthia Odier: The angel’s leap

An hour in Carouge, Switzerland, with Cynthia Odier, founder of the Fluxum Foundation and Flux Laboratory. A figure who brings contemporary dance in contact with the business world.  A harmony of contrasts? It’s a multidisciplinary experimental place. People dance here, they philosophise here, ethereally beautiful tall young women glide about here… In a nutshell, this is where people can do anything – against a John Cage soundtrack – when culture rhymes with curiosity. Messing about with turn tables, inventing worlds, exploring the limits of the body… The Flux Laboratory is the type of place that conjures up Warhol’s pop Factory in New York, with the added attraction of fresh Swiss air. We’re in Carouge, three arabesques away from Lac Léman. Here, the fairy Melusine is Cynthia Odier, founder of Flux Laboratory, in 2003. Calvin’s “irresistible grace” comes to mind… Elegant and intelligent, this former dancer specialises in gigantic leaps. After a childhood in Egypt, growing up in an Orthodox Greek family, she came to Geneva, the land of Protestantism, at the heart of reformed faith. Cynthia, an exponent of bohemian chic, who looks like she’d be comfortable walking barefoot; and also Cynthia, wife of a banker (Patrick, managing partner of Lombard-Odier). We think of Heraclitus of Ephesus, the Greek philosopher who celebrated the harmony of opposites. Creativity incubator But let’s continue… Based in a former factory, Flux Laboratory is an “elaborative” space. Its 1,000 m2 are devoted to the production of artistic performances, avant-garde contemporary-dance pieces, art and design exhibitions… A genuine “tool for reflection, reinvention”, which backs fluidity. For Flux implies movement, flow. Cynthia Odier has incidentally inscribed, on her foundation’s pediment, the well-known maxim: “Tout coule… et se transforme” (Everything flows and nothing stays). Heraclitus once again, and the laws of eternal change which he so succinctly summed...

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Von Bartha Gallery representing Felipe Mujica and Ricardo Alcaide

Von Bartha (Basel) is representing the artists Felipe Mujica and Ricardo Alcaide. Felope Mujica was born in 1974 in Santiago. His work blends different practices such as installation, drawing, temporary sculptures and engravings. Influenced by international artistic modernity, his work tunes art movements to the international scale along with the political and social situation of his country, namely the political movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He has been living and working in New York since 2000. Ricardo Alcaide was born in 1967 in Caracas, Venezuela. He lives and works in Sao Paulo. His work explores artificial environments using minimalist aesthetics, producing works that explore urban and architectural issues while reflecting social questions such as ghettoes, exclusion or...

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Results of Volta 12

The Volta 12 fair, taking place from 13 to 18 June 2016 in Basel, ended with success. The contemporary-art fair celebrated twenty years of existence, a birthday marked by the current situation of market instability. The fair placed a spotlight on discovery and surprise, offering an intimate atmosphere promoting proximity with artists. In the words of the fair’s artistic director, Amanda Coulson: “It’s clear we are no longer the sparkling ingenue, in the mid-2000’s frenzied atmosphere of a high market and impulse buys (…) This year we’ve shown clearly that we are a proper venue for serious and deliberate acquisitions from both the reliable and loyal exhibitors who have remained with us through market vagaries, as well as the up-and-comers and those who eschew trends for conceptual and studied...

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Swiss copyright reform in a bad way

In Switzerland, copyright law is in the midst of a reform initiated by the Swiss Federal Council on 11 December 2015. One key point in this new amendment is the extension of copyright to the loan of artworks. A prospect that worries the whole of the art market. The current law provides that whoever lends or makes available copies of an artwork owes a remuneration to its author. With the new amendment, the author’s right would be extended to the loan of an artwork even for non-commercial purposes. This remuneration owing to artists would apply whatever the duration of the loan for “principal and ancillary activity”, without this term being further defined. The author’s right applies up to 70 years after the artist’s death. The art market did not tarry to express its reaction. The Association of Swiss Museums, ICPM Switzerland, the Swiss Art Market Association and also Cultura have firmly objected to the extension of the copyright. The bodies all stress the negative consequences that this measure would have on the loan of artworks in Switzerland but also the international activities of Swiss lenders. Criticisms target the amalgamation made by the new law between the loan of a book and the loan of an artwork. Indeed, the loan of a book can substitute a purchase but this is not the case of an artwork that is unique by definition. Yet the loan of artworks is a crucial mechanism for the operation of institutions, and commentators fear that the new law will impinge on the cultural projects of various...

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Skira publishes a Matta monograph

Skira published, on 26 April 2016, the first monograph on Chilean painter Roberto Sebastiàn Antonio Matta Echaurren (1911-2002): Matta. On the Edge of a Dream. This first monograph was written by Thomas Monahan in conjunction with Hans Ulrich Obrist. Thomas Monahan is a gallerist and collector of Matta works. Oksana Salamatina’s association with Thomas Monahan may well represent a turning point in the artist’s international renown. The book gathers Thomas Monahan’s reflections on the artist and his work, an interview between Thomas Monahan and Oksana Salamatina, an interview with Roberto Matta by Hans Ulrich Obrist conducted several months before the artist’s death, with a preface by Oksana Salamatina. Presenting a selection of Matta’s most striking works, the book aims to show the artist as he has never been seen: the visionary aspect of the end of the Surrealist movement; the influence of Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell; his role as a visual ethnographer of modern life in the mid-20th century. Thomas Monahan, a friend of Matta for over thirty years, provides a personal and sensitive depiction of the man behind the artist while offering a detailed and well-researched monograph of his work, influences, different periods of his life and work. Thomas Monahan met Matta while contemplating one of his works at the MoMA in New York when he was 17 years old. Their inspiring relationship plunges us into the heart of the art world: the encounter was the start of an artistic passion and a three-decade-long friendship. Thomas Monahan has achieved what others can only dream of by leaving behind a moving last impression in a book dedicated to the memory of his friend Roberto. According to Oksana Salamatina: “Our work is about leaving a small trace in art history, what else is the point of...

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