press release

Since the birth of Dada in Zurich almost one hundred years ago, the mindset of fire starters has been a common denominator in Swiss art. Artists love to challenge law and order, manifesting a deep sympathy for counter-culture, some even bordering on sabotage and anarchism.

In 2006, Swiss author Daniel de Roulet gained international attention for his non-fiction novel A Sunday in the Mountains. In it he makes a stirring confession to an arson attack on the chalet of German publisher Axel Springer. Thirty years after the incident took place, de Roulet recalls a love affair that culminated in an act of terrorism.

Switzerland has an ongoing reputation as a safe haven. The small country is seemingly lulled into a sense of security, relegating the subversive to the arts. Or, as the case may be, the Swiss' laissez-faire attitude serves as a means to smothering simmering rebellion.

A more contemporary generation of Swiss artists still employ revolutionary ideas, sabotage, or simply explosives as vehicles in their work. Despite the fact that these art pieces pose a purely hypothetical hazard, they emit the aura of counter-culture.

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A Sunday in the Mountains

Christoph Büchel, Valentin Carron, Fischli / Weiss, Fabrice Gygi, Thomas Hirschhorn, Dieter Meier, Olivier Mosset, Gianni Motti, Elodie Pong, Philip W. Sauber, Albert Steiner, Roman Signer, Jean Tinguely, Karlheinz Weinberger, Andreas Züst

Gianni Jetzer