Switzerland’s art stage, best known for its lavish, one of the most popular art fairs, has a lot more to offer beyond the commercialised and VIP-oriented Art Basel. This year, happening in September due to Covid-19 restrictions, the event will focus on bringing back the experience of ‘face-to-face’ art viewing, as well as provide three virtual reality viewing rooms for those unable to attend the events in person. However iconic and, at times, notorious Art Basel has become, it is nonetheless greatly responsible for bringing worldwide attention into considering Switzerland as a place for shaping the contemporary art stage. A month before the gigantic event taking place, it is perhaps the best time to familiarise oneself with the blossoming stage of the independent and experimental art world in Switzerland. From rainy Zurich to sunny Lugano, Switzerland has to offer a promising amount of opportunities for emerging art to be exhibited as well as explored.
Last Tango is an art association based in Zurich, founded in 2016 by Linda Jensen and Arianna Gellini. Their core mission is to exhibit and represent artists as well as help in production of artworks. Last Tango supports emerging artists in their local as well as international initiatives. Their exhibitions focus on group shows, exploring themes in all sorts of artistic mediums. Ever since their first exhibition of 2017, Last Tango has organised more than twenty shows of around eighty artists and art groups. Apart from their independent exhibitions, Last Tango collaborated with various partners such as Zürich moves!, VFO, Kunstsammlung des Kantons Zürich, TOPIC Espace d’art indépendant Genève, Progetto 6000, Cine-Club Perla-Mode, index Freiraum, Time Capsule Collection, and Flee Project. In addition to their exhibitions, they held social events such as performances and screenings. During the most recent show, Cockroach or Queen?, they organised a social evening of robot portrait-making, tarot card reading, memory games and performances.
Initiated in 2008 by Swiss artist Andreas Marti, DIENSTGEBÄUDE is an artist-run independent organisation, providing exhibition and studio space for emerging, and mid-career artists, as well as curatorial programmes. Within the course of its activity, DIENSTGEBÄUDE has employed more and more international groups of artists and curatorial associates. The art space does not represent artists; they collaborate on projects and exhibitions, but do not function as a representative gallery, which enables artists to stay independent in their achievements. From the beginning of DIENSTGEBÄUDE, the space has welcomed around 110 exhibitions. DIENSTGEBÄUDE had been selected for participating art events such as Platform Projects in Athens, IAF International Art Fair in Warsaw, Kunst Zürich, Supermarket in Stockholm, Rotterdam Contemporary, POPPOSITIONS in Bruxelles, SWAB in Barcelona and The Others in Torino.
One Gee in Fog was founded in 2014 by Ceel Mogami de Haas, Claire Michel de Haas and Lucas Cantori. It is an artist-run initiative including an exhibition space, a library, a residency and an online platform named Two Gees in Eggs in Geneva. As an art organisation, they focus on supporting emerging artists in visual arts and literature. One Gee in Fog has organised around 50 exhibitions, including virtual shows. Since 2020, One Gee in Fog created its own curatorial team with Katia Leonelli, Azadbek Bekchanov, Antoine Simeão Schalk and Caroline Savary. Their most recent exhibition, The Shape of Futuros, lasting until 26th of August, displays works of Tarek Lakhrissi, Maïté Chénière, Davi Pontes, Wallace Ferreira, Irmãs Brasil.
Ausstellungsraum Klingental (Klingental Exhibition Space) was founded in Basel in 1974. It is one of the oldest independent art project spaces in Switzerland. Ever since the beginning of the association, it has provided emerging artists and curators with space for experimental exhibitions, metaphorically and physically. The Klingental is established as an art association, which means that the collective of members take responsibility for the program. The association is open for anyone who wishes to become a new member and shape the artistic endeavours of the place. The Klingental Exhibition Space is engaged in developing art stage locally in Basel, as well as internationally, i.e. having partnerships in Georgia and Chile. Each year, they launch an Open call for Artists to participate and contribute to the distinguished programme of the association. They are now exhibiting works of the DUELL collective Smudge, the messenger, open until 5th of September.
Sonnenstube was founded in 2014 in Lugano, in the southern part of Switzerland. Sonnenstube is run by curators Giacomo Galletti and Giada Olivotto, artists Sandro Pianetti and Gabriel Stöckli and musician Gianmaria Zanda. Sonnenstube (German) means ‘sunny room,’ and this is how Swiss people describe the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. Just as the location, so does the association represent a peaceful and idyllic place to contemplate and relax. Sonnenstube is an itinerant offspace supporting contemporary art and music. They held art exhibitions, social events and music concerts.
For more information, and other independent art initiatives in Switzerland visit https://artistrunalliance.org/loc/switzerland/