“Un rideau de flocons blancs ininterrompu miroitait sans cesse en descendant vers la terre; il effaçait les formes, poudrait les choses d'une mousse de glace; et l'on n'entendait plus, dans le grand silence de la ville calme et ensevelie sous l'hiver, que ce froissement vague, innommable et flottant de la neige qui tombe, plutôt sensation que bruit , entremêlement d'atomes légers qui semblaient emplir l'espace, couvrir le monde.”
Guy de Maupassant, Boule de Suif Marc de Puechredon is delighted to celebrate the onset of the European winter with the inauguration of Schneeweiss, a group exhibition with works by Marischa Burckhardt, Christine Fausten, Rudolf de Crignis, Huger Foote, Andy Goldsworthy, Nicole Herzog Verrey, Hans Op de Beeck, Ed Ruscha, Manuela Sedmach, John Stark, Not Vital and Uwe Walther. The exhibition brings together a group of artists working in diverse media, and presents their own personal response to snow, itʼs dramatic effect on the landscapes around us. For some artists, it is the inspiration of „Schneeweiss“ as an idea. The show opens on Saturday 16th November, and will run through to the end of January 2014.
The decision to host an exhibition called Schneeweiss (White Snow - not to to be confused with Snow White), is both relevant and pertinent in many ways. Taking Switzerland as a microcosm of the world, It is hard to overestimate the importance of snow, economically, psychologically and ecologically. As Andy Goldsworthy said “snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood” and for the millions of people living in the more temperate regions of the planet, the seasonal appearance and disappearance of snow is both fundamentally familiar and comforting, and vital to our existence.
In terms of area, snow cover is the largest single component of the cryosphere, covering an average of about 46 million square kilometers (about 17.8 million square miles) of Earth's surface each year. About 98 percent of the Earth's snow cover is located in the Northern Hemisphere. While the artists in the exhibition have reflected on the visual effects of snow in different ways, their combined approaches nearly always add up to a singular emotional, almost fragile appreciation for this most startling of all landscape effects.
The expanse of a predominantly white colour-field will in everyone but those who have never witnessed it first hand, conjure up tactile memories that are clearly set apart from other sensory recollections. Generally, snow and ice present us with a uniformly white appearance. This is because visible light is white and nearly all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back without any particular preference for a single colour. On approaching the subject, this affords artists a limited monochrome palette to work with, both restricting and consequentially concentrating their focus for detail within the subject - indeed this a common trait of many the works on display here. After which, any colour appearing outside that black and white spectrum appears at once electric, abstract, or other-dimensional.
On such a large scale, snow cover helps regulate the exchange of heat between Earth's surface and the atmosphere, or the Earth's energy balance. While the intention for organising this exhibition was at first entirely aesthetic, for the simple pleasure of revisiting the snow artistically, the current state of fear for the planet's climate very quickly re-coordinates our focus to reflect the clear implications now inherent in snow as a topic.
With the temperate mountain ranges, like those located in western North America, New Zealand, and the European Alps, already experiencing winter temperatures that are only slightly below freezing, even small increases in air temperature will ultimately shorten the winter snow season. The relentless retreat of the ice which inevitably accompanies snow means we now have an unmistakably powerful visual marker for the shifting climactic conditions now becoming apparent. The seemingly impenetrable expanse of dense white mass belies actually the most delicate and fleeting of nearly all substances; something to which the artists here all pay sincere homage.
This exhibition has been co-curated by Edward Cutler and announces his arrival as artistic director for Marc de Puechredonʼs galleries in Basel and Zurich. Edward has already been working with the gallery for a few years, out of Milan und under his own name (www.edwardcutler.com). From the end of 2013, Edward will be coordinating all future exhibitions in Marc de Puechredonʼs Swiss galleries, combining his acknowledged eye for emerging talent, with the continued curation of the established artists already working with the gallery.
With: Marischa Burckhardt, Rudolf de Crignis, Christine Fausten, Huger Foote, Andy Goldsworthy, Nicole Herzog Verrey, Hans Op de Beeck, Ed Ruscha, Manuela Sedmach, John Stark, Not Vital and Uwe Walther
Tuesday - Friday from 2.00pm to 6.30pm
Saturday from 10.00am to 3.00pm
- John Stark, Warmth, (2011), Oil on wood panel, 41 x 50 cm
- Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (set photo), 2013, 102 x 73 cm, courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua
- Manuela Sedmach, Esilio Bianco, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 31 x 45 cm
- Nicole Herzog-Verrey, Untitled (from the Sublime Agonie series), 2009, Giclée print on Hahnemühle paper, 80 x 105 cm
- Nicole Herzog-Verrey, Peau Blessée (from the Bleeding Glaciers series) , 2009-2010, Photography and mixed media, 80 x 80 cm
- Nicole Herzog-Verrey, Tourtemagne II (from the series Les Victimes), 2010/2011, Photography and mixed media, 80 x 105 cm