Graubünden’s environment formed by the forces of nature is at the centre of “Rockslide as Preparation”. Based on the Flims rockslide the question arises, how a long gone event can be made visible and how such a sudden motion can be preserved. The exhibition is associated with the Swiss National Fund project of the same name at the Bern University of the Arts and brings together works by 16 artists.
A research team with the science historian Priska Gisler and the artists Florian Dombois, Schirin Kretschmann and Markus Schwander has taken on the task of approaching the Flims rockslide artistically and theoretically. The instrument for this inquiry is the preparation, a familiar method in natural science for the extraction, preparation and conservation of a designated object. The special feature of the preparation lies in its materiality. As opposed to a model, a preparation is always of the same material as the phenomenon to be shown. How does one then bring the rockslide into the museum?
In addition to the newly created audio installations and space interventions by Dombois, Kretschmann and Schwander selected positions are shown, mainly by contemporary artists who develop strategies of preparation or explore the collapsing of a mountain, whereby the contradictoriness of wanting to fix motion stands at the centre. Roman Signer’s new installation “Rockfall” not only reproduces the force of falling rocks, but also the sculptural, forming power of such an event. Gereon Lepper’s boulders rotate in a cylinder in a continuing cycle of standing still and breaking forth. Both works function as a model for the mechanism of a rockslide, but approach the concept ‘preparation’ by using real rock with its acoustic, olfactory and physical properties. Katja Schenker and Esther Mathis create even more explicit references to a geological preparation only to subsequently thwart them.
Even if the systematic meticulousness of Mark Boyle’s preparations of the earth’s surface; or Dominik Zehnder’s negative rock-cast emphasising its imperfection, follow the practice of science, art predominantly offers metaphorical parallels and non-linguistic insights relating to the material and its characteristics. The interface between art and science is broached deliberately in this project. Science researchers and geologists are included in the discussion, since both areas have always pervaded each other. In fact, for a long time the science collection as well as the art collection were assembled under the same roof in the Churer Museum. Furthermore, a first exhibition with an interdisciplinary approach “Surveying. Strategies for Registering Space” was realised in 2009, and this now finds its sequel in “Rockslide as Preparation”.
Mathias Balzer, Boyle Family, Florian Dombois, Naoya Hatakeyama, Andreas Renatus Högger, Schirin Kretschmann, Gereon Lepper, Esther Mathis, Matthäus Merian, Katja Schenker, Markus Schwander, Roman Signer, Robert Smithson, Daniel Spoerri, Monica Studer /Christoph van den Berg, Dominik Zehnder
Präparat Bergsturz. Band 1, ed. by Katharina Ammann and Priska Gisler, with contributions by Katharina Ammann, Flavio Anselmetti, Priska Gisler, Christoph Hoffmann, Stephan Kunz, Reinhard Wendler, Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur, Bern University of the Arts, Luzern/Poschiavo: Edizioni Periferia, 2012, 88 pages, 42 illustrations
Opening: August 24, 6 pm
Reception: Stephan Kunz, Director Bündner Kunstmuseum
Introduction: Dr. Katharina Ammann, Conservator Bündner Kunstmuseum