Imago Mundi

Contemporary Artist from Switzerland

The Imago Mundi collection dedicated to contemporary art in Switzerland was organized according to “democratic” principles of selection inspired by the founding principles of the Confederation. To select the more than 200 contributions in the small 10x12 centimeter format, the three curators, Guido Magnaguagno, Francine Mury and Sabina Tear, chose to equitably divide the candidates among the 26 cantons, even taking into account the ratio between men and women.

Maya Vonmoos - Lontane Luci (2015)

Luciano Benetton, the creator of Imago Mundi describes the line taken by the curators: “The connection between the referendum, the participatory tool that best characterizes Swiss democracy, and art, - he explains - demonstrates the care taken to create a community that is informed and aware. In tribute to the democratic and cultural inspiration of the Confederation, the Imago Mundi project dedicated to Switzerland has chosen the contemporary artists based on their canton of residence. Each canton obtained a proportional number of ‘artistic seats’, achieving a total of over 200 works that illustrate the artistic reality of a remarkable country with an incredibly high density of museums, with public and private funding dedicated to the promotion of culture and young talents, and an economic situation that allows many to collect art.”

Laurence Cotting - Echantillon (2015)

Com&Com - Why (2015)

Alain Poussot - Heritage in Gold (2015)

The research began with SIKART, the database of the Swiss Institute for Art Research, which contains approximately 17,000 entries and with the systematic review of websites, museums, galleries and art events. Subsequently, – Sabrina Straccia specifies – over the course of a year “almost 20,000 careers and artistic productions were viewed, about 2,000 repertoires considered, more than 400 artists selected and contacted. In the end, a total of 232 artists, 116 women and 116 men participated in the creation of a work.”

François Berthoud - Net (2015)

Hadrien Dussoix - Your ideas get you killed (2015)

Sylvia Hostettler - Ausschnitt Objekt Häxäbäsä 1 (2015)

Haus am Gern - This room is a copy (2015)

Our Visual Art – emphasizes Guido Magnaguagno - is perfectly documented in the SIKART and divided into subgroups with a five-star system. We therefore identified and analysed thousands of contemporary artists and we concluded that quantity is also a message. It announces abundance, figurative wealth, a great volume of possibilities. It opens up a world removed from speculation and partiality, nepotism and envy. It shows a picture of a kind of peaceful coexistence and thus corresponds in some way to the historical experience of the federal government, which, since the Battle of Marignano in 1515, has avoided being drawn into “foreign matters”. Instead, it has made great contributions in humanitarian terms and peace building, with the International Red Cross and many other international organizations based in the country.”

Jean-Marc Gaillard - April 21, 1942, French West Coast... the feeding with baguettes was a mistake, too much white bread impaired digestion and so the mood was quickly deteriorating...(2015)

Silvia Gertsch - Cafe afternoon (2015)

Renate Buser - Cadman Plaza North (2015)

“If measured in terms of size, population density (almost 8 million inhabitants, a third of whom are immigrants), and its marginal significance in world politics, the country will surprise you – affirms Magnaguagno - with its varied array of artists. Its internationality prevents retrograde provincialism, the permeability of its society, the high level of education and elevated mobility allow a contemporaneity that may also seem to pose a danger. It is not for us to judge. We have simply provided an overview. In good Swiss tradition, as free from prejudice as possible, as balanced as possible.
Is it dull? Does it promote understanding? Does it challenge? We hope it is the last of these possibilities. We hope for an image of Switzerland in images that will amaze.”

Stefan Sulzberger - Drop (2015)

Judith Peters - 28. Dezember (2015)

Hannes Binder - Jetzt (2015)

Francine Mury cites Adorno: “The greatness of works of art consists solely in the fact that they give voice to what ideology hides.” And she adds that the “artworks always show something above and beyond themselves, they develop, as it were, their own historical transcendence and identity. The major differences are, if anything, found at a generational level.”

Fiorenza Bassetti - Autoritratto (2015)

Christine Zufferey - van Gogh, 2009 (2015)

Stefan Banz - Imago Mundi (2015)

“It seems to me – summarizes Luciano Benetton - that the small format, for many, has worked as a stimulus for pictorial representations of great freedom. In general, I think colours, lines, signs and materials, although differently interpreted by artists, are the result of a conscious and intense enquiry. The Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that the golden rule of education is “not to gain time, but to lose it”. I believe this is also true of art. The maturity of these contemporary works tells us that the Swiss artists, in contrast to a certain trend towards the ‘fast’, took time to reflect. As one would expect, after all, in the land of the timepiece.”

Michel Kiwic - Frottee (2015)

Zimoun - 1 Prepared DC-Motor (2015)

Bernhard Annen - Hinter dem Körper (2015)

Christine Aymon - Homme aux poissons (2015)

Credits: Story

— Guido Magnaguagno
— Francine Mury
— Sabina Straccia

— Valentina Granzotto

Editorial coordination
— Enrico Bossan

— Luciano Benetton
— Guido Magnaguagno
— Francine Mury
— Sabina Straccia

Special thanks
— Emilienne Farny

Editing and translation
— Emma Cole
— Simona Caldara
— Else Gellinek
— Michela Liverotti
— Stephanie Rössing
— Pietro Valdatta

— Marco Zanin

Book design
— Marcello Piccinini

— Marco Pavan


Carmen Perrin - The Smallest Splash

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.
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