We find ourselves in a time of presumptions, claims and algorithms. Gone are the unexpected encounters where chance reigned, where contingency hummed as it does when encountering people, art or books – fortuitous effects that top all the Zoom meetings in the world. “How are you?” asks every book and every artwork, and we don’t have to answer. Instead we might pass it on, press it into the hands of the next person, whether friend or stranger, thank you very much. This is why, for the comeback summer of 2021, Kunsthalle Zürich is opening a bookshop with our favourite books, with billiard tables and 10,000 conversations. Let’s shed our solitude as if it were an old jumper.
With an intervention by Shamiran Istifan, with sculptures by Ursi Luginbühl, and Subvocals by Emma McCormick-Goodhart and Bureau Eponym
Watch the Vernissage TV report on the exhibition here:
Shamiran Istifan (*1987) is a Zurich-based visual artist. «I love that banal objects or visuals are – sometimes unconsciously – charged with meaning, even becoming sacred, defined by a society or culture that maybe didn’t even intend to define this thing. It simply comes from visual and emotional impressions of lived experience, and this is what inspires me. […] I changed the LV logo itself into an Arabic word through adding two dots, it became 'baana' which means 'to sunder, to become evident through separation' which is applied to a community that is a minority, not only here but also in the motherland and the importance of becoming grounded through sometimes strict traditions, symbols and rituals.» As told to Sofya Aleynikova. The bookshelf We’re carrying you, 2021, is by Istifan.
Ursi Luginbühl (1936-2017) was a Swiss ceramicist and sculptor. From 1954-1957 she trained with the famous ceramicist Margrit Linck in her workshop near Bern. Luginbühl’s early works were influenced by Linck’s style and approach, particularly her functional dishes (in the 1940s and ’50s Linck repeatedly created surreal ceramics too). Encouraged by her children, who called these rather purist (though highly elegant) pots dull, Ursi Luginbühl began to experiment with fantastical elements in the 1970s. What emerged was a striking body of work, though one that is hardly known today beyond her inner circle, even though Ursi Luginbühl was well known as the wife of the iron sculptor Bernhard Luginbühl. In these ceramic piecees, some very large, formal elements from her friends like Jean Tinguely, Niki de St. Phalle and Daniel Spoerri shine through. Nonetheless, Ursi Luginbühl developed an independent work that combines purism and the fantastic in an avant-garde manner. It is regrettable that her art has not yet been welcomed into Swiss museums. The ensemble in Kunsthalle Zürich represents one of the most significant presentations of her work to date. It takes place contemporaneously with another extensive presentation at the Alten Schlachthaus in Burgdorf.
Emma McCormick-Goodhart is an artist, writer and researcher based between New York and London. She runs Bureau Eponym, which generates names for projects across scales and sectors. At Kunsthalle Zürich, she presents, among other works, Sotto Voce, initially shown as a sound installation in Belmacz's The Ashtray Show West (October 2018 – January 2019), and later aired on Montez Press Radio in New York. A sonic archaeology of the cigarette, explored as sensory, gestural and inscriptive prosthesis, interwoven voices include Patrick Higgins of Zs, who 'reads' Beethoven's Heiliger Dankgesang with a cigarette, plus David Hockney, Maggi Hambling, Chuck Close and Dwight Owsley, former captain of Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle in NYC – who calls smoking 'ephemeral unheard vocalism,' 'wordless vocalisation'. It also includes brief archival audio of Francis Bacon, Jacques Cousteau (smoking undersea) and Bette Davis.