The first monographic exhibition hosted by the MASI is dedicated to Markus Raetz, one of the protagonists of the Swiss contemporary art scene. Realized in collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Musée Jenisch of Vevey, were it was shown in 2014, the exhibition in Lugano acquires particular significance: it is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the Canton Ticino and it includes a new large–scale and hitherto unseen installation titled “Chambre de lecture”. More than 150 art works retrace Raetz’s fascinating career, from the Seventies until now, and thus the themes he has explored: first of all the perception phenomena which he investigates through several recurring subjects, like words, landscapes, views, physiognomies and faces. Through a playful and conceptual approach the artist’s creations, which at a first glance appear simple and accessible, reveal the complexity of the reality that surrounds us. Particular relevance is given to printmaking, a favorite area of interest of the artist. Throughout the years he has explored the various engraving techniques experimenting new applications in search of an ever greater creative freedom. The artist’s graphic research was developed alongside a parallel investigation of the plastic arts, as demonstrate the numerous sculptures included in the exhibition. These are often art works which transform under the eyes of the spectator, changing form, and thus meaning, according to the chosen point of view. A word can transform in its exact opposite and the profile of the famous artist Beuys mutates into the shape of a hare: in Raetz’s sculptures the opposites coexist and nothing is as it seems.
Chambre de lecture
Presented in a dedicated and separate space this work serves as an ideal starting point from which to discover the poetics of Markus Raetz. The work is composed by 432 metal wire profiles modeled by the artist and hung in front of the walls of a room. This orderly composition is set in motion with the slightest breeze, which is, in most cases, caused by the movements of the viewers themselves. This results in a series of fascinating dynamics. Observing the movement of the heads may cause one to smile, but also offers foods for thought: as is often the case in Markus Raetz’s works, the transition from the more universal dimension to the more intimate one of consumption is seamless.
Also dedicated to Chambre de lecture is an eponymous publication (Edizioni Casagrande), realized on the occasion of the exhibition at MASI Lugano. The book describes the artist’s work in 360 images, and texts by Francesca Bernasconi, curator of the exhibition, and Marco Franciolli, director of MASI Lugano. The volume is further enriched with a selection of colour pictures taken in the artist’s studio by the photographer Alexander Jaquemet.