MUTATIONS : Contemporary Sculpture In Context

Alexa Kusber
Jul 18, 2014 6:27AM

Verbier 3-D Artist Residency & Sculpture Park

July 2014 - July 2016

The 3-D Foundation is pleased to present MUTATIONS at the Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park from 5 July. This exhibition presents five new works created during the biennal six-week Artist Residency that occurred from the end of May until the beginning of July in Verbier, Switzerland. The exhibition celebrates the development of monumental sculpture in the context of the Alps and is part of the Label’Art 2014 initiative in Valais. 

The curatorial premise for the 2014 3-D Artist Residency was MUTATIONS by London (Tate) curator Paul Goodwin: What are the emerging forms of mutation in contemporary art practices? How can contemporary art transform our understanding of the complex entanglements caused by proliferating mutations in the environment and society? Can artists mutate/remix/re-vision our understanding of society, environment and culture?

The artists were invited to live in the reclusive mountain town of Verbier and become fully immersed within the context of place encouraging them to consider the relationship of their practice to not only the proposed theme, but also to existing pieces, the landscape features, history and current perspective of the site. This year’s artists were chosen based on their interest in experimentation and desire to push the medium of sculpture forward, keeping it alive by experimenting with both the possibilities of materials and the capabilities of space.

Andrea Hasler (CH) born in 1975 in Zürich, Switzerland, and currently lives and works in London, has developed two sculptures and one video work for the Park.  The works touch on the seclusion, exclusivity and hybridity of the mountain town of Verbier. Her first work, Avant/Aprés consists of a red carpet scenario in the mountain landscape with no indication which boundary is the VIP side to aspire to be or which one we may be held back from. In relation to this year’s theme, the work points at the lack of actually physical mutation and the desire to be different or transform. The intestine-like rope made of resin and wax, references the non-physical aspect of desire, highlighting the fact that underneath we are all the same. Perishable Goods is a pallet of compressed flesh (utilising the same process) bulging out, yet held together and at the same time, adorned with luxury chains. With the impression of the work being crudely dropped into the Sculpture Park, the work suggests the intensity and intrusion of the change of population in Verbier in the winter months whilst referencing the stark contrast of the need for emergency aid food pallets dropped off in disaster zones.  The video work developed during the Residency will be released later this year.

Architects by training BUREAU A (CH), who consists of Leopold Banchini and Daniel Zamarbide, is a multidisciplinary platform aiming to blur the boundaries of research and project making on architectural related subjects. For this year’s Residency, the focus was based on the rooting of culture in the Swiss mountains. From the writings of Ramuz, particularly Derborence and Farinet, their project is a continuation, somewhat subversive, on precarious housing in the mountains. Antoine creates a shelter, an "Existenzminimum" space and architecture that is a livable and functional residence.

Beyond this, the Swiss tradition of digging and carving the mountains for various habitats, military infrastructure, or ski areas, Antoine also references essential writing in the history of architecture: Bunker Archaeology by Paul Virilio, edited for first time in 1975 and describing his fascination with military architecture conducted on principles of camouflage. The mini-residence is hid with a rock that will sit on the edge of the Park as about to fall at any moment. Antoine thereby hangs at this time and culture Paul Virilio, Claude Parent and André Bloc around which is born the concept of architecture-sculpture.

Tarik Hayward (CH) has been recently running towards an artistic demarche that could be described as a more immediate approach, in the direction of performance and sculpture. These two areas are often intertwined in his recent work and have been realised in his latest work for the Park. Erected in the ruins of a modernist structure that was removed earlier this year, Unity Temple references a ritualistic response to constant change on the mountain combined with the immediate need for survival. The destruction of this past installation represents a sign of instability, both structural, economical and spiritual. As ruins are remnants of past realities, they become memorials to decay and evolution, with change often happening brutally with no signs of departure.

Ritualistically building with sand bags in a repetitive and quick motion, Hayward finds solace in the renewal of a contemporary temple for visitors to find refuge from inevitable change. This practice also refers to survival wartime situations of urgent necessity to be sheltered. The title Unity Temple gives reference to the first modern building using concrete as both a structural and aesthetical material by architect Frank Loyd Wright, which was actually a church.

Eve Bailey (FR/USA) has formed a practice based on the concepts of balance and coordination. Rooted in the tradition of the artist-engineer, she creates ergonomic and kinetic sculptures sympathetic to human embrace as well as complex line drawings that embody her love for architecture and dance.

Bailey constructed Our Impermanent Walk as an interactive kinetic sculpture inspired by the wings of the first flying machines. The sculpture-device serves to experiment with proprioception and express finite moments of equilibrium. The concept is literally and metaphorically about groundlessness, impermanence, trust and collaboration. As two people climb upon the structure, they loose their traditional relationship to gravity and cannot hold on to anything but each other' s counter weight. They are bound to collaborate to find their balance.

Our Impermanent Walk will be located in the Place Blanche in Verbier for the summer before going to it’s final site in the Park. 

This year’s Residency and exhibition has been developed with American Curator and new Valais resident Alexa Jeanne Kusber.

MUTATIONS has been produced with support from Commune de Bagnes, TéléverbierLa Loterie Romande, Verbier St-BernardLe Bec/ Mountain AirEtat du Valais: EtincellesECAV, W Hotel VerbierFactory Design Labs, Rossier TransportsVerbier RentalsMartinetti Frères SAPaul Maret, Manenti Farquet, Net+, Hilaire Besse, Corthay Bois, Pangas, Kunstrasen Profi, Vieux Verbier and Vignabagnes.

Alexa Kusber