"Grande Formato"


Galleria Gottardo Foundation, Lugano, Switzerland


07. 01. - 28. 02. 2004


Participating artists:

Marc-Antoine Fehr, Heiner Kielholz, Leiko Ikemura, Mario Merz, Peter Roesch, Franz Wanner



Selections from the Banca del Gottardo, Lugano



The Galleria Gottardo -- the Banca del Gottardo’s foundation for culture -- opens its 2004

exhibition season with a group showing of a selection of works from its “Swiss Art 1960-1990

The Young Generation” collection.


The Bank’s collection highlights the trends in Swiss art between 1960 and 1990. The chief

features of the collection are the diversity of themes it includes and the innovative ground it

covers. By focusing on diversity and innovation, the collection has put together a panorama

of contemporary art that places particular attention on the creation of a multiform visual



The exhibition features six large-canvas works that were chosen, apart from their size, for the

quality of their creative expression and the cultural values they represent. The title of the

exhibition alludes to the fact that the show offers observers a panoramic view of the work,

one that goes beyond a simple frontal view, encouraging the viewer to move around the work

to develop a dynamic relationship with it.


The exhibition features important names in contemporary art that have also garnered

international attention, artists such as Mario Merz and Leiko Ikemura, as well as Heiner

Kielholz, Peter Roesch, Franz Wanner and Marc-Antoine Fehr.



The artists shown remain in close contact with the traditions of painting through their

techniques and distinct styles. The six paintings in the show cover the period from 1968 to

1986. During this time, each artist, in his own unique pictorial form, sought out the art of

painting in its original form using very different means and intellectual approaches.

The exhibition provides the public with the opportunity to see works that are usually shown on

the Bank’s premises. All the artists represented in the Banca del Gottardo’s collection

demonstrate, each in their own way, their connection to Swiss culture and landscape.


The “Swiss Art 1960-1990 The Young Generation” collection of the Banca del Gottardo

includes a detailed catalogue of the same title, published in 1992 (Swiss Institute for Art

Research, Zurich)



Galleria Gottardo, a cultural foundation of the Banca del Gottardo

Banca del Gottardo, Institutional Patron of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation


Galleria Gottardo uessearte

Viale Stefano Franscini 12 Via Natta 22

6900 Lugano, Switzerland I - 22100 Como

Tel. +41 91 808 1988 Tel. +39 031 269 393

Fax +41 91 808 2447 Fax +39 031 267 265

galleria@gottardo.com uesseart@tin.it



The work by Heiner Kielholz (Rheinfelden AG, 1942) Untitled (oil on canvas) is from 1968, a

very fertile period for Swiss art. Kielholz joined the Ateliergemeinschaft Ziegelrain in Aarau

(1967-1972), which was a time of experimentation in which he took up the challenge of space

both in the real and the pictorial sense. His research into the receptive capacity of the viewer

led him to create large paintings in black and white. On a white background Kielholz painted

vertical and horizontal lines of black dots. The irregular placement of the dots causes the

pattern to fluctuate and become visually alive, creating a play on depth. Kielholz has adopted

his style and content over time, and has lately returned to mostly figurative painting. He lives

and works in Poschiavo.


Le Tazze di Torino (The Cups of Turin), acrylic on jute with a lighting installation, dated

1979, is by the Italian artist Mario Merz (Milan, 1925 - 2003). During the years of Arte Povera

in 1967, Merz made a name for himself in Turin. All his works feature the attempt to renounce

the “emptiness of modern technological man with a non-emptiness reaching far back into the

past.” The cups depicted are humble, everyday objects. They emphasise the fact that they

belong to human nature and become a live presence when “illuminated” by a neon beam,

which makes the contrast even more dramatic and harsh. Merz’s quest for expression finds

its roots in the Fibonacci number series (each successive number in the series is the sum of

the two previous numbers). The number becomes the mathematical frame of a universal

codification system within which the work develops, symbolizing the flow of existence.



The painting Die Waage (The Scale, 1982, acrylic on canvas) by Peter Roesch (Aarau AG,

1950) is part of a series of works dedicated to the theme of equilibrium (Das Gleichgewicht)

that were shown at the Galerie Jörg Stummer in Zurich in 1982. The subject of equilibrium

returns, in different combinations, in later works as well (Das Gleichgewicht, 1990). The

painting depicts human figures streamlined to their formal essence. They are the protagonists

in an animated dialogue of gestures rich in symbolic significance and multiple meaning, as in

the relationship between the sexes or the difficulty that human beings have in communicating.

The scene is enriched with mythological quotations and silhouetted against a uniform and dark

background, with the end result a sense of solitude and desperation.



Franz Wanner (Wauwil LU, 1956), after completing an apprenticeship in sculpture, took up

painting at the beginning of the 1980s, working chiefly with large canvases. The painting for this

exhibition, Senza titolo (Untitled, 1985, acrylic on canvas), initiates a dialogue with the still life

genre, bringing it to a new and modern place. The chromatic depth of the background brings

out the clarity in the object, revealing its ambivalent functionality: container and content allow

the viewer to see in this painting reciprocal contradictions and absolute harmony. Within the

huge dimensions of the painting, the subject seems to be the conduit for a wider reflection on

the roots of artistic labour.


The Japanese artist Leiko Ikemura (Tsu Mie, Japan, 1951), has been living in Switzerland

since 1979 and belongs to the generation of neo-expressionist artists. Referring back to the

historical avant-garde of German Expressionism and Fauvism, she brings back the violent

deformation of the image through the use of the chromatic symbol or contrast. The work for

this exhibition, Mamma Buddha from 1986 (oil on canvas) is an example of her style. In the

painting, Ikemura portrays the dichotomy between two religious truths by depicting two

figures, the Buddha and the Virgin Mary, reaching out towards each other in a coming

together of consciousness. Leiko Ikemura has been a professor at the Universität der Künste in

Berlin since 1991.



Das Bad II (1986) by Marc-Antoine Fehr (Zurich, 1953) is an oil on paper work that recalls the

frescos of Pompeii in a kind of intellectual echo. The painting is worlds away from the

contemporary panorama of the 1980s. Together with Fehr’s variations on this same theme, the

painting forms a single series even within his own artistic output. The subject seems to allude

to a ritual type of bathing, implied by a complex figurative structure and a strong chromatic

impact, within which the woman with raised arms is depicted at rest. The recurring themes

in Fehr's works are within a surrealist- fantastic current. Nature has a primary place, as it is

the source of inspiration and iconic value.


Exhibition dates 7 January - 28 February 2004