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Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz sets the bar

Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz stages vibrant artworks inside its modern gallery space as the surrounding nature is covered in icy and frosty winter tones.

The forthcoming exhibition of works by Martin Creed, Turner Prize-winning artist, performer, composer and ‘Punk poet,’ will open on the gallery's second floor, from 11 February – 10 April 2023.

 Installation view, ‘Roth Bar’, Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz, until 9 September 2023. ©Dieter Roth Estate. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Jon Etter

The visitor will surely come across the "ROTH BAR" as soon as they enter the gallery's ground floor space, a fully functional, custom made bar created by Björn, Oddur, and Einar Roth, the son and grandchildren of artist Dieter Roth (1930 – 1998). Dieter Roth insisted on including a bar in his first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth in 1997, which is how the "Roth Bar" was established at the gallery.

The bar is "open" until 9 September in St. Moritz. Visitors to the bar can turn on the bar chairs, decorated with an overcoat hanger, to view the sun-dappled painting "Doppel-Selbstbildnis (Double Self-portrait)" (1973), which reveals an important dialogue between Dieter Roth's work from the 1970s and his wider practice.

The painting on the wall in the background is executed in an Old Master style, gradually building up thin layers of oil paint to achieve a rich tonal range, Roth’s profile is cut from a plane comprised of a myriad of luminous and subtly blended colors. In line with the title, another barely visible cut-out on the curled bend is included.

Image: Martin Creed, Work No. 3772, 2022 – 2023, 30.5 x 25.5 cm / 12 x 10 in © Martin Creed. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2023. Photo: Damian Griffiths

As Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz present ‘Step Paintings’ by Martin Creed, Turner Prize-winning artist, performer, composer and ‘Punk poet’ one can't avoid to think about the immediate resemblance of the step motive to the surrounding Alpine landscape. This exhibition replaces German conceptual artist, Isa Genzken's presentation titled ‘Inside and Out,’ of concrete sculptures, 'Social Facades' series and later wall works. Genzken studied at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf whose faculty at the time included Joseph Beuys, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh and Gerhard Richter.

Image: Isa Genzken, Untitled, 2018, Adhesive tape on aluminium panel © 2022, ProLitteris, Zurich. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin/New York. Photo: Jens Ziehe

She has continually challenged the viewer’s self-awareness by means of physically altering their perceptions, bringing bodies together in space and integrating elements of mixed media into sculpture. Creed is described as a social artist too, and his presentation creates a link to the previously exhibited works by Genzken who explored the same themes of our social interaction and is inspired by geometry and bright colours just like many of Creed's works.

Notably colours are important for both artists, not to be used inordinately, but rather strategically in a way that allows the best possible space for each colour to become alive and radiate its warm glow in front of our eyes. ‘Colors can help you feel better’ says Creed, ‘paintings are the arrangement of colors for pleasure’. The artist respects some of the traditional golden rules of painting, but do not look for golden triangles in his paintings. Rather the study of his paintings is aptly done by steering the eye towards a specific colour area and allowing for the surrounding complimentary colours to melt into the eye.

I can't imagine better space to observe this than the south-facing rooms of Hauser & Wirth's sunbathed St. Moritz gallery. The alpine light at an altitude of 1856 meters is special and the eye is stimulated to focus with more or less intensity on different details and colours at different times of the day.

By Nermin Ahmet


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