Mar 1, 2015 - Jan 20, 2017

Art in Embassies Exhibition Bern, Switzerland

Embassy of the United States Bern, Switzerland

The Art of Science, Technology, and the Environment

The Collection
For the exhibition in my residence, I have chosen works that reflect science, technology, and the environment. The works on display celebrate a spirit of creativity, innovation, and dialogue. The qualities that make a brilliant artist are the same that are required for a brilliant scientist: the ability to see things in a new light; the desire to reinterpret the world around us; the skill to create new ways to understand our environment; and the will to communicate this new understanding across different and often seemingly opposing fields. Both Switzerland and the U.S. value these qualities highly. -- Suzan LeVine, U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein 
Art in Embassies
The Art in Embassies Program curates temporary and permanent exhibitions for the representational spaces of all U.S. chanceries, consulates, and embassy residences worldwide, selecting and commissioning contemporary art from the U.S. and the host countries.

For more than thirty years, James Balog has broken new conceptual and artistic ground on one of the most important issues of our era: human modification of our planet’s natural systems. To reveal the impact of climate change, Balog founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted.

"Time is not a dimension people usually think of for paintings. Even after you know about the testing process underpinning my work, it’s tempting to view the paintings as static, frozen moments or phenomena captured in the acrylic film like bugs in amber." - Jaq Chartier

“I love to go to the ocean and walk along the beach. If you work with hot glass and its natural properties it begins to look like something that came from the sea.” - Dale Chihuly

“The inspiration for my drawings began in early childhood when I traveled with my family throughout several of the world’s most remote landscapes, which were the subject of my mother’s fine art photography." - Zaria Forman

Known for her impeccably naturalistic pastel drawings, Zaria Forman finds inspiration in remote landscapes and environmentally sensitive locations. Her drawings include carefully rendered images of glistening icebergs, turbulent arctic waters, and crashing tropical waves.

“I have been experimenting with the connections between art and science since the 1990s, when my work focused on white light holography. In 2007 I began working with acrylic Lichtenberg figures, and during the seven years since then, I have attempted to push the process into increasingly complex forms." - Todd Johnson

"Science is one of our most precise and powerful tools for understanding the world. Art contributes its many offerings." - Lynda Lowe

“These paintings reference four of the many Swiss scientists who’ve contributed greatly to our understanding of the world: Leonhard Euler, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, and Didier Queloz. The graphs, diagrams, handwritten notes, symbols, and marks are vestiges of each scientist’s inquiry." - Lynda Lowe

"This center painting is a mnemonic prompt to remember balance, stillness, and presence amidst the stunning bombardment of information, endless tasks, and omnipresent tug of gravity." - Lynda Lowe

“My work explores ideas related to space, mapping, motion, and light, inspired by current scientific inquiry in the fields of physics, astronomy, and biology." - Barbara Robertson

[Expanding Galaxy is part of] “a series based on fractal forms – the shapes created by the ongoing processes of Life, such as the branching of plants to catch the sunlight, the convoluted unfurling of clouds, the formation and fracturing of mountains from the forces within the earth, the jaggedness of the coastline as it interacts with the sea . . . Because of the non-linear, reflexive nature of real life, these processes tend to follow spiral paths." - Craig Schaffer

“As humans, we have a fascinating capacity to visualize mathematics. Our analytical concepts can be visualized, written down in notation, and then shared as a logical and visual language for others. These creative issues from our minds are analytical expressions, and the visual process of rendering them is analytical expressionism. This is the world I explore while painting.” - Michael Schultheis

The glossy enamel paintings on aluminum depict abstracted images of the internal components of the Large Hadron Collider, which lies in a tunnel seventeen miles in circumference deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.

This is the frontispiece created by de Launay for Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer Jean- Jacques Rousseau’s 1782 edition of Emile. The original caption read: «L’éducation de l’homme commence à sa naissance» (Man’s education begins at birth).

«L’éducation de l’homme commence à sa naissance» (Man’s education begins at birth)

The Competition
Together with Swiss Art Council Pro Helvetia, the U.S. Embassy called for artworks by Swiss artists to be exhibited alongside the other artworks. The two winning artists were selected by an international jury chaired by U.S. Ambassador Suzan LeVine

"By printing the U.S. constitution on the archetypal consumerist printing medium, the device commodifies the most important document of the United States of America. The posture of the hacker as a figure of socio-cultural change is explored through the lens of a technological guerilla apparatus." - Thibault Brevet

"I explored contemporary techniques that would let me make a somewhat digital use of “smart paint.” I settled onto thermoreactive pigments and developed custom Printed Circuit Boards able to act as physical pixels, electronically controlled to change the color of the paint." - Thibault Brevet

"I am interested in the issues that are raised when apparently “natural” objects are synthetically constructed, blurring the boundaries between these two culturally determined labels. Other areas of our lives are also involved in this global process. My work as an artist calls upon my scientific training, during which I became aware of the importance of drawing in order to understand histological and botanic structures. I work with man-made and natural objects encountered in everyday life, analyzing and reworking them until their original condition – natural, artificial or digital – is brought into question." - Elisabeth Eberle

U.S. Embassy Bern
Credits: Story

The exhibition was curated by Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.

Project coordination, data integration and design by U.S. Embassy to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Many thanks to everyone from the Embassy and Art in Embassies involved in the project and to the Google Cultural Institute as a partner.

Further information:

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.