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ART SEEN - Etre Montagne

ART SEEN // Art & Culture // March 21, 2018

Uli Van Neyghem takes a look at the exhibition taking place now at the Espace Arlaud in Lausanne.

Être Montagne: Experience The Mountains Through The Eyes of 4 Artists

Where:                      Espace d’Arlaud, Place de la Riponne 2bis, 1005 Lausanne

When:                        Until April 8, 2018 (closed Mon & Tues)

Entry Fees:                 Adults: CHF 6 (CHF 4- for students, seniors etc, and free for children under 16)

This beautiful temporary exhibition at Espace d’Arlaud in Lausanne shares the works of 4 contemporary artists, 3 of whom are Swiss and 1 of whom is French, working in Switzerland. The exhibition shows their unique take on the monumental rocky landscapes you find in this country.

Two of the featured artists; Astrid de la Forest and Christiane Jaques, interpret the mountains mainly in black and white and with a reduced monochromatic palette (using engraving, monotype printing or drypoint etching techniques on paper), playing on the stark contrast between light and shadow. 

In Christiane Jaques’ works, the profound black makes the density of the stone or the depth of the water in the lakes tangible, recalling the immense forces that created them. The bright, light parts give the viewer something to hold on to, almost as if to escape the lure of the blackness.  

Astrid de la Forest often takes a perspective remaining at the foot of the towering mountains with the liquid horizontal line of the lake as a baseline. Her feathery brushstrokes and lines are softening the menacing bulk of the giant formations.

The other two artists, have a more more polychrome approach in their interpretation. Eric Martinet’s works appear the more realistic the further your standpoint from the painting, but dissolve into multicolour brushstrokes and drippings the nearer you get. 

At the centre of the exhibition however, is Barbara Gwerders project ‘AlpStreich’, the realisation of which was made possible by the artist receiving the prestigious FEMS (Foundation Edouard et Maurice Sandoz) award of 100.000 Swiss Francs. For this project,  Barbara Gwerder spent the majority of a year living by herself in a remote alpine hut, venturing out into the majestic landscape around her, painting ‘alla prima’ during all four seasons and in any weather condition, defying the elements. 

In the more than interesting film shown in the exhibition, it becomes evident why the AlpStreich paintings were being done on wooden boards and not on canvas. The latter would have ‘gone with the wind’, too flimsy to work on under such extreme conditions. 

The artist’s brave and bold brushstrokes capture her emotions faced with the panorama and challenge in front of her: the peaks and cliffs, rocks and boulders, the snow and fog, waterfalls and vegetation.  Accepting the solitude, feeling small, but one with the mountains at the same time... Être Montagne...   

  • Eric Martinet, Mur-Montagnes


  • Barbara Gwerder, AlpStreich N° 26, 2016
    Techniques mixtes sur panneau MDF
    125 x 195 cm



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