Curated by Lucienne Peiry
At the age of 50, Armand Schulthess (Neuchâtel 1901- Auressio 1972) quit his job as a federal officer in Bern and exiled himself in a country house in Auressio, Ticino. Isolating himself from the outside world, he dedicated the rest of his life to the planning of his 18’000m2 property. He built a network paths and walks with perspectives and resting places. He hanged thousands of metal plates on the trees on which he had reproduced texts on psychoanalysis, literature, astronomy and music. His garden became an outdoor encyclopaedia, a bucolic labyrinth which embodied his artistic, philosophic and scientific philosophy. On his death in 1972, his heirs and the Ticino authorities decide to destroy his œuvre. Luckily, some of his creations were saved by people who understood the importance of his outstanding project.
The exhibition creates a dialogue between Schultess’ mobile assemblages, painted metal plates, books of clippings, and collages and the photographs of Ingebord Lüscher, Gérald Minkoff and Hans-Ulrich Schlumpf, showing the artist immersed in his poetic environment. A unique filmic testimony, the documentary « Armand Schulthess . J’ai le téléphone » (1974) of H.-U. Schlumpf, is projected during the duration of the exhibition.
Armand Schulthess created an inventive and rebel cosmogony which fascinated several artists, writers and intellectuals, including Max Frisch and Corinna Bille, who wrote about him, as well as Harald Szeemann and Ingeborg Lüscher, who celebrated him in the Documenta of 1972.