The extension of the Museum Franz Gertsch that opened in March 2019 remains reserved for its name patron. Alongside the Four Seasons ensemble (2007–11), the paintings ‘Pestwurz’ [Butterbur] (2014/15) and ‘Meer’ [Sea] (2016/17) as well as the woodcuts ‘Silvia’ (2001/02), ‘Winter’ (2016) and ‘Sommer’ [Summer] (2017) by Franz Gertsch are on display there.
Additional works by the artist are on show in Room 1 of the original building – and it is here that a new work will have its premiere. It concerns a painting that follows on from the ‘Gräser I–IV’ [Grasses I–IV] (1995–99) from the collection of the Museum Franz Gertsch.
With ‘Gräser I’ [Grasses I] (1995/96), Franz Gertsch renewed his work in the medium of painting after an almost ten-year pause during which he occupied himself exclusively with woodcuts. It depicts a considerably enlarged detail of a reed-like grass (false-brome) that grew in his garden at Rüschegg. In this work, the artist began distancing himself from the photorealistic style of painting with which he attracted international recognition in the 1970s. The other paintings reference and proceed from this ‘mother picture’. In this series, Gertsch pursues a conceptual way of dealing with his own painting style by enlarging the first picture and playing with details and exposures.
In his late work, Franz Gertsch does not seek out new themes but varies and deepens his dealings with familiar motifs from his oeuvre. In this new work, he turns again to grass. Produced in the same format as ‘Gräser I’ [Grasses I], ‘Gräser V’ [Grasses V] (2018) is a work about which the artist said while working on it that it felt like it painted itself. As opposed to the earlier Grass pictures, Gertsch began here with the dark background and then took pleasure in painting each and every blade of grass in multifaceted hues of green. In the process, his execution attained a new and exhibiting level of freedom.
The exhibition was curated by Anna Wesle in collaboration with the artist.