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Press release

MARKUS RAETZ
30 September - 20 November 2004

We are happy to announce a solo exhibition by Markus Raetz, that will offer the rare opportunity to see the recent works of this extraordinary Swiss artist: ten new sculptures, two mobile sculptures and seven recent engravings.

Born in Bern in 1941, for more than 30 years Markus Raetz has reflected on the language of art as a form of visual communication by means of poetic and essential images. The mechanisms of representation on one hand, and the plurality of vision on the other, are the themes around which his artistic experience has evolved. In his sketch-books from the ‘60s and ‘70s, the artist sets out the foundations of his vision: the delicate, precise lines of the drawings form figures, landscapes and objects whose continual transformation makes us take part in the creative process and makes us conscious of the fluidity of images and points of view.

Over the years, the ideas and the themes contained in the drawings are turned into works and become installations, sculptures, and monumental works. Often made from natural, unusual or ephemeral materials, they preserve the lightness of the drawing and an awareness of being images and thus representation, game, thought. Examples of this are the eucalyptus leaves forming faces on a wall (1982), the twigs which, if viewed from a certain point in space, form the body of Eve (1983), and the granite marker stones scattered across a field that form a face when seen from a certain hill (1984).

Since the start of the 1990s Raetz has been working on a new cycle of sculptures, the Anamorphosis: iron or bronze fusions which have a different appearance according to the viewpoint from which we look at them. The movement of the spectator around the work enables one to locate the point of view from which an apparent shapeless mass suddenly becomes a familiar object, such as a pipe, or the figure of Mickey Mouse, or even reveals different images (for example an upright head and an upside-down head). In other cases it is the sculpture itself which moves and transforms itself in front of our very eyes, as in Duo, dated 2000, in which light leaves of metal are suspended from nylon threads, portraying two faces whose expressions change continually.

In the last few years Raetz has devoted himself to plastic possibilities of words. The metal sculptures change according to the viewpoint of the person who looks at them: YES becomes NO via a series of intermediary stages (abstract forms or words of an unknown alphabet?). Thus one word turns into its opposite, the points of view become relative and the possibilities are infinite.

Markus Raetz lives and works in Bern (Switzerland). Since 1966 he has exhibited in numerous galleries and museums: solo shows have been staged by Kunsthaus in Zurich (1975), Musée Rath in Geneva (1994), Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum (1979), the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Köln (1986), the IVAM in Valencia (1993), the Serpentine Gallery in London (1993), the New Museum in New York (1988) and the Arts Club in Chicago (2001). He represented Switzerland at the 1988 Venice Biennale and took part in Documenta in Kassel in 1968, 1972 and 1982. His works are in the permanent collections of the MoMa in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt and leading museums in Switzerland.

Texts

Markus Raetz