December 05, 2009

Kunstmuseum Luzern

(view of Lucerne)

Luzern Art Museum is a striking architectural gesture on the banks of the Lake Lucerne. I saw 4 shows there today. With the annual show featuring 40 artists there were obviously a lot of works of little interest but I was impressed with the 4 untitled small drawings of Nathalie Bissig, which while very simply delineated in what looked like a waxy pencil carried very powerful images of helplessness and power, the distressing power which provokes eroticism over liberalism. Lukas Hoffman displayed some very thoughtful photos of the empty margins of public car parks in grey winter; his trees had the visual definition of lung diagrams footed with the indestructible alienated shrubs beloved of municipal parks departments. Miriam Sturzenegger showed 3 small note books pinned to the wall with ever so faint pencil drawings almost absent-mindedly doodled; but hovering in a dimension out of reach, immaculate tiny handwriting reversed slightly through the pages from the other side – made more inaccessible to me because of them being in German.
In another show “Tamed Light” – videos by Judith Albert were not very interesting.
In another show Irene Bisang’s paintings were enjoyable gouaches which mixed innocence with sudden shocks, a sequence of decorative portraits with thought bubbles, a woman being beheaded by a knife the size of her body, a happy penis; of course, missing Barney, I was drawn to Wise Dog I and II.
(I love the way they pollard on the continent)

From the stable of Barbara Thrumm in Berlin, I think, Valerie Favre’s big show was a variable experience. She had a lot of galleries which seemed to me to expose her strengths and weaknesses. Her large scale landscapes and allegories were stodgy, monotonously coloured and meaningless, whereas her Lapine-Univers [She-hare Universe] was superheroic, vibrantly painterly and erotic. Her series of small Selbstmord [Suicide] canvases with the restricted palette of yellows and greens hung in a long line across 3 walls were gripping but this was dissipated by the location of a monumental not very good painting of a Cockroach on the facing wall. A final room of her motifs intermingling with art historical references returned to muddy ill-definition, except for the strong presence of “Secret Service for the Queen”.

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