We are delighted to present an exhibition of works by Silvia Gertsch and Xerxes Ach at our gallery in Zuoz. This follows on from their major presentations at Kunstmuseum Bern in 2015 and the National Museum in Gdansk last year.
The paintings by Silvia Gertsch, in oil behind glass, represent everyday reality, while those by Xerxes Ach, in monochrome layers of egg tempera on cotton, are abstract.
The duo share an unconditional love of painting, a high degree of precision and a way of turning colour into a source of energy. Colours are meant to convey light. Light is the true protagonist in these works.. In the monochrome canvases by Xerxes Ach, colour and light radiate beyond the bounds of the painting itself. In the works by Silvia Gertsch, light transforms figures and landscapes, lending them an almost transcendental dimension. Though the figurative visual syntax of Sylvia Gertsch and the monochromatic paintings by Xerxes Ach could hardly be more different, a dialogue invariably develops between the two.
Silvia Gertsch paints in oil behind glass, basing her motifs on photographs and videos that she has shot and developed herself. The themes she addresses are as classic as they are timeless. She is particularly interested in the human figure and in landscape as well as in the incredibly varied effects of light produced in the painterly process. Her aim is to cast the harmony of humankind and nature in new and contemporary forms. Her strategy is based on contemporary reality. Gertsch does not indulge in the kind of reverie or nostalgia that obscures whatever might disrupt or disturb, but instead, on her forays with her camera, hones in on those aspects that reach beyond the momentary to capture the enduring and the universal. However, it is in her paintings that the existential essence encapsulated in her photographic snapshots becomes a certainty. As a painter, Silvia Gertsch achieves the miracle of imbuing the beauty of a fleeting snapshot with credibility and permanence. This subtle yet powerful beauty is evident in all her paintings.
Xerxes Ach paints with egg tempera on cotton. He makes his own paints by mixing pigments with egg yolk. His visual vocabulary is articulated through the sensuality of experiencing colours presented either in monochrome or in the form of expressive colour compositions. Ach succeeds in pinpointing particular colour sensations amidst the endless diversity of hues and shades, capturing these and turning them into exhilarating abstract colour compositions. Freed from all formal bounds, the desired tonal nuance is distilled from the paint as though it could not possibly exist in a purer or more reduced manifestation. Once Ach has juxtaposed his monochrome fields of colour, the resulting lines of contrast are broken down, giving way to an expressively fluid cadence. Using a large brush, he applies various colours in the finest of layers, building up a surface of almost sculptural appearance that evokes an incredible pictorial depth.
Silvia Gertsch was born in Bern, Switzerland, in 1963, and Xerxes Ach in Esslingen. Germany, in 1957. After spending many years in Zurich and living for six years in Bergamo, Italy, they moved in 2010 to Rüschegg in the foothills of the Bernese Alps. In 2015, they had a major exhibition at Kunstmuseum Bern and in 2018 at the National Museum in Gdansk. They have also participated in group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Bern, Kunsthalle Basel, Kunsthalle Zürich and at various museums in Zurich, Bern, Lugano and Munich and have shown their works in solo exhibitions at the galleries of Bischoff in Bern, Monica De Cardenas in Milan and Lugano, Jamileh Weber in Zurich, Kornfeld in Bern and Fuchs in Berlin. Their works are represented in important public and private collections, including Kunsthaus Zürich, Kunstmuseum Bern, Schweizer Mobiliar Versicherung, Credit Suisse, UBS and Unicredit.