press release

The exhibition inaugurating the new Art Museum at LAC offers a journey through the creations of numerous artists from northern Switzerland and “the land where lemon trees bloom”: Böcklin, De Chirico, Hodler, Wildt, Anker, Morandi, Segantini and Medardo Rosso. Taking in leading figures in Dadaism and futurism, the journey culminates in the works of two masters of the 20th century: Fontana and Giacometti.

“Orizzonte Nord-Sud” documents a period running from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. But it opens with the works of two pre-romantic artists: the Italian Giovanni Battista Piranesi and the Swiss Caspar Wolf. The former is well known for his etchings of majestic ancient architecture whilst the latter is renowned for his paintings of magnificent alpine scenery. Though they had a predilection for very different techniques and antithetical subjects, both offer an interpretation of the aesthetic of the sublime which reveals how much they actually had in common.

Almost following the example of these two forerunners, the artists in the exhibition engage in dialogue which is frequently innovative and therefore all the more astonishing. Through their works, visitors can compare visions of the world acquired in cultural and geographical environments which were isolated from one another. The exhibition allows us to capture the differences, but above all, the affinities binding together experiences which are customarily considered as distant. One can thus appreciate that Morandi has an unsuspected forebear in the Canton of Berne, that Federici Casorati shares with Félix Vallotton not only his first name, but also his style, that Fontana and Giacometti share an almost morbid passion for depicting space.

In this programme made up of dialogues, just two solo voices stand out: J.M.W. Turner and Paul Klee. The great English painter crossed the Gotthard on several occasions and in his inimitable style portrayed both the threatening allure of the Alps and the mellifluousness of Ticino’s landscapes. In many of his works, Klee, who grew up in central Switzerland, celebrated southern light and by his own admission, learnt how to use colour there.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in Italian and English with colour plates of all the works on display as well as contributions from international art historians.