Alpine Art

Published January 30, 2014

ROMAN SINGER’S HOUSE OF ROCKETS, 1981, PHOTO: EMIL GRUBENMANN. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST/HAUSER & WIRTH.

“Elevation 1049: Between Heaven and Hell,” on view through March 8 in the ski-resort village of Gstaad, Switzerland, is the first of a site-specific art series designed by writer and curator Neville Wakefield and artist Olympia Scarry. Playing within a boundless winter snowscape, the curators have installed art in ways that make use of the lofty, often transitory environment. “We’re not going to build massive structures or anything of the kind,” says Scarry, who as a child often visited her grandmother and grandfather, the children’s book author Richard Scarry, in Gstaad. “You’ll come across art without expecting to. It’s about respecting nature and its subtleties.” Artworks and performances are almost entirely original commissions from Swiss artists, including Scarry, Ugo Rondinone, and Urs Fischer. Discovering Gstaad’s popularity with Indian directors, artist Christian Marclay compiled a video of Bollywood movie clips shot in Gstaad, “creating a filmic landscape that speaks equally to India and to Switzerland,” explains Wakefield. Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s The Secret of Work, originally executed in 1984, is being revived, molded to the Alpine topography. All told, the show gathers works “grown out of the landscape,” says Wakefield, “responsive to its situation, and reflective of it.”