The exhibition is a catch-all on an endlessly diverse theme. There are, however, pretty little known works to be discovered that are out of context.
He rarely quotes. The Kunstmuseum in Saint-Gall finds itself marginalized because of its location. It has to be said that from Geneva, Saint-Gall is far, even if you have to travel in a beautiful countryside to get there from Zurich. The institution itself is a little outside the historical center. It occupies an interesting neoclassical building from the second half of the 19th century, which I have already told you about. The latter can now be seen to be very small, even if visitors don’t fight there. There are many expansion projects, but …
A taste for the contemporary
So Kunstmuseun will no longer display permanent collections, even if the heritage fund seems relatively large. It has to be said that these are different sets, with some beautiful paintings added over time. I tell you that these nuclei are likely to grow, despite the obvious lack of space. In recent years, there has also been a good series of images as well as a remarkable number of German carvings from the 16th century. It is a surprising improvement when we consider that management (1) shows a clear preference for contemporary creation. Thus there are two major exhibitions to be seen in 2022 today. Manon de Beer occupies the basement with his video works. A Swiss first. We must be loved. Sold poorly as “one of the most important artists of his generation”, Andreas Slominki for his part filled the first floor with his paintings. That sounds like a lot to me …
Not one or the other I intend to tell you now. In early April, the Kunstmuseum actually varnished the ground floor “Perfect Love”. A love, of course. Or rather in the various forms it can take. Everyone really goes through the rooms. There is a couple, but also mother, divine, celestial or artistic love. Commissioner Samuel Reller even predicted a love affair that lay among the clouds. A way like others to illustrate a statement that to me seems very foggy, not to say smoke. In each episode, works from all eras and made in all possible media collide. Some were there as they could have been elsewhere. It is a question of illustrating a set of discourse by using drawings, sculptures or prints (2). The institution is accustomed to it. The rest of the ground floor has “Blicke aus der Zeit”, where the course is built by playing in the same way as the characters look. I tell you about it to remain above all some unique or important drawings.
“Perfect Love” responds to the same principle. I was happy to see some unique pieces by Anselm Feuerbach as well as Eugène Delacroix or Sebastiano Ricci. There are fine prints of Albert Dürer on the walls. Fine gothic carvings. Annette Bühler, the patron of the museum of ancient art, recently (2021) presented the institution with a very interesting little triptych made around Lake Constance about 1500. So the eye is satisfied. The spirit is unfortunately very small. I don’t mind playing games with collections, as Jean-Hubert Martin’s MAH in Geneva showed up in his huge “Pas necessit d’un dessin”. But a small amount of substance is not harmful sometimes. What if St. Gallen Kunstmuseum once organized a truly thematic exhibition, instead of offering the public some sort of surprise bag?
(1) Roland Wäspe ended up in 2022 as a director for almost thirty years. He will be replaced by Gianni Jetzer, who is best known as the curator of Art Unlimited within the Art/Basel framework. (2) The St. Welsh by adoption Beni Bischof paints graffiti though not pornography on white walls.
NB In front of the museum a sculpture says, in French, “The last days of the patriarch”. Elsewhere the flags of Ukraine are flying. Admittedly the Kunstmuseum in Saint-Gall “surfs” in the spirit of the times.
“Perfect Love, From Love and Life”, Kunstmuseum, 32, Museumstrasse, St. Gallen, until May 14, 2023. Tel. 071 242 06 71, website www.kunstmuseumsg.ch Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through 8 p.m.
Born in 1948, Etienne Dumont made studies in Geneva that were of little use to him. Latin, Greek, tuo. A failed lawyer, he started journalism. Mostly in the cultural sections, he worked from March 1974 to May 2013 on the “Tribune de Genève”, beginning with a discussion of cinema. Then came the good arts and books. Other than that, as you can see, nothing was reported.
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