It is always amazing to see the cultural power that often emanates from small, quite remote Alpine valleys in Switzerland. This also applies to a great extent to the 4th Art Safiental Biennale, which this year invites visitors to wander freely and experience contemporary landscape and environmental art until 23 October 2022 under the motto “Learning from the Earth”. 15 works by Swiss and international artists critically examine the present and propose alternatives to current developments and upheavals. What is our relationship to the earth? What can we learn from it, and what makes us human? The Biennale is organised by the Institute for Land and Environmental Art (ILEA) under the auspices of the Beverin Nature Park and in cooperation with the municipality of Safiental and Safiental Tourism. The curator of the exhibition is Johannes M. Hedinger.
The earth gives us life, support, home and perspectives. It has been and still is revered in all cultures. Art Safiental founder and curator Johannes M. Hedinger says of this year’s motto: “Learning from the Earth not only calls on us to react to the climate emergency, the art projects also show alternative, sometimes forgotten or forgotten ways in which we can enter into dialogue with the earth and learn from it.”
15 artists and their works for Art Safiental 2022
In compiling this year’s list of artists, the aim was again to achieve an inclusive balance of various aspects such as different approaches, gender, age, origin and regional reference. Over half of the art positions are duos or groups, which also reflects the collective and participatory nature of many of the projects. Many of the projects are also highly trans- and interdisciplinary and have processual or participatory elements.
Zurich-based Marcus Maeder mixes art and science to make environmental issues accessible and tangible.
In the wild natural forest reserve Aclatobel, he has been recording microclimate and environmental sounds since summer 2021 as part of his eco-acoustic research project “ACLA”. This “soundscape” can be experienced interactively in a wooden listening post on site (www.aclasoundscape.ch, information on the project: Art Safiental Acla Video Doc.
In the decaying, acoustically interesting Acla tunnel, Lithic Alliance by Daniel V. Keller from Brussels and Zurich installs a playable lithophone, i.e. stone sound bodies. In this participatory action, visitors connect for a brief moment with the local stones and this place.
The couple Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger from Langenbruck invite visitors to lie on two couches around Tenna: In a remote forest in Ausserberg and in a barn in Innerberg, hanging beds have been installed on which you can refresh your eyes while gently rocking. In addition, the artist duo has created an area of land called “Ackergold”, which will develop into a total work of art in the form of plants.
The Grisons/Wallis artist duo Badel/Sarbach is showing a video installation and hanging sculptures in the service gallery of the Zervreila hydroelectric power station in Safien-Platz.
Her new film “Lost Waters & Found Stairs” approaches the river as a habitat. Together with scientific fish monitoring, the result is a multi-layered and multi-perspective commentary on our nature-culture relationship.
The Zurich duo Simon/Odermatt, who let their sled fly at the end of the last Art Safiental, are once again heading for the heights.
On the Via Capricorn, at the very back of the Safiental at around 2500 metres above sea level, the artists will enter into a playful dialogue with the ibex colony that has settled there. Down in the valley, hiking trail markings worn down by the ibex are on display in a stable.
The Spanish artist Lara Almarcegui collaborates with the gravel works located in the valley and makes the transformation processes of (earth) material visible and tangible. On selected days, the public can visit the stagnant work and wander among the dormant materials shaped by water and nature before becoming part of a new construction process.
Practically all the works of Art Safiental 2022 can be visited around the clock and are accessible by footpaths of varying lengths. Some of them can also be reached by public transport or private car. At the Berghotel Alpenblick in Tenna you can get more information about the Biennale, the exhibiting artists and the other departments of ILEA. A general map with information on the works and practical tips will be available from 2 July (online and as a folding map in all hotels, restaurants and information points in the valley). A small catalogue will also be available from the end of July. Official guided tours take place on four Sundays. On-site information boards and the website www.artsafiental.ch will also help you to find out more.
Guided tours of Art Safiental: 24 July, 14 August, 18 September and 9 October 2022. Registration and details of other events at www.artsafiental.ch.
www.artsafiental.ch: Exhibition, Works, List of Artists, Map, Hiking Tips, Events, Photos, Videos
www.alpsartacademy.ch: Summer Academy, Symposium, Works by the Participants
www.ilea.art: Office, Research, Archive, Publications, Projects, Indoor Exhibitions
www.safiental.ch/tourismus: Accommodation and tourist offers, Tel +41 81 630 60 16