Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park Residency
Situated in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the Verbier 3-D Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to promoting contemporary art, environmentalism and education through its Artist Residency and Sculpture Park.
Founded in 2010 by New York-based artist Madeleine Paternot and Verbier-based artist Kiki Thompson, the pioneering organization creates an experimental and educational Artist Residency and Sculpture Park at an altitude of 2,300 meters, inspired by the stunning Alpine landscape of Verbier, Switzerland.
For the past 10 years, the Foundation has supported over 32 Swiss and International artists by offering a research-led residency that pushes artists out of their comfort zones, fostering development and new work that might not be possible in the studio space. The idea is to get out of the studio, into nature, research, collaborate, think, act, create and communicate.
The residency programme has become an unrivaled incubator for artists to research contemporary art practices and the environment by offering a cross-disciplinary platform that enables creative dialogue with experts in various fields - from engineers, glaciologists, geologists and historians to diviners (dowsers), mountain guides, musicians, gurus and the public. The programme aims to enhance the modes of collective thinking, open minded research, theory as action, creative knowledge making, accessing the public across borders and developing new work beyond the institution.
The residency is co-curated by Alexa Jeanne Kusber and Paul Goodwin offering artists personalized curatorial support from both academic and practice-based perspectives. The two independent but supporting roles allow further critical thinking and cultivation of the artist’s practice.
The selected artists are given a theme to utilize as a muse when starting their research. Topics such as the Anthropocene, Migration and Water inspire the pulse of the residencies and development of the new work. Highlights include the exploration into underground bunkers In Search of Frankenstein with photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews, examining shifts in the Alps while considering how to Save The Climate! with surrealist Olaf Breuning and learning to Listen to a Changing Environment through eco acoustics with sound artist Philip Samartzis.
Each year, new thought-provoking work in the field of “Climate Research Art” is developed during the residency and exhibited in the Verbier 3-D Foundation Sculpture Park for a period of at least 2 years.
The Sculpture Park, open year round, is a 3km mountain walk of an evolving display of multimedia works developed in situ from artists such as James Capper, Onyedika Chuke, Gregory Coates, Karsten Födinger, Tarik Hayward, Zak Ové, Will Ryman, and Josette Taramarcaz, among many others. Artist collaborations have included artists such as Natalie Ball, Sanford Biggers and Gramazio Kohler.
Visitors of all ages have the opportunity to access artists’ research and further learn about the crossroads between climate, knowledge and art in the alpine environment the work was inspired from.
Education has always been at the heart of the Foundation as a way to engage local communities and the public. Their yearly online and physical education programme offers diverse entry points as a way to increase the understanding of contemporary art practices, our changing environment and foster a dialogue between artists and communities. As part of each residency, the artist is asked to teach the local school children about their practice. This is paired with artist talks, e-bike art tours, sound walks, online masterclasses, kids create@home classes, artist inspirations, local breadmaking and ecoacoustic playlists.
In the theme of “we can all learn from each other”, the Foundation encourages as many interconnected educational initiatives as possible with aims to create impact.
This year the Foundation has invited the Swiss artist collective Fragmentin as its 2022 Artists-in-Residence. The residency will focus on the development of a sculptural work examining the global topics of water and climate concerns inspired by the materials, technologies and ecological knowledge sourced from the surrounding terrain of Verbier.
The artists will start research behind the concept of Obsology - a neologism coming from a mix of the words obsolescence and archaeology with a focus on the topic of Post-digital archaeology in glacial terrains.
How will future archaeologists study us? Will our considerations on issues such as digitalization and the climate crisis last ? What traces will be left over for future generations to remember ours ? And in which form?
Fragmentin is an artist collective based in Lausanne, Switzerland, founded in 2014 and composed by Laura Perrenoud, David Colombini and Marc Dubois. At the intersection of art and engineering, Fragmentin’s work questions the impact of the digital on everyday life by investigating these technologies' disposition towards control and opacity. Influenced by the likes of Alain Damasio, Eric Sadin and James Bridle, Fragmentin's works are often conceived as spaces for discussion on crucial contemporary themes such as climate change. Through installation, video, interaction and performance, the studio’s artworks demystify complex systems and reveal the tension between emergent technologies, society and the environment.
Fragmentin’s work has been exhibited in Switzerland at the Haus der elektronischen Künste HeK (Basel, CH), Kunsthalle Zurich (Zurich, CH), The Mapping Festival (Geneva, CH), The Landart Biennale Art Safiental (Tenna, CH), NOV gallery (Geneva, CH) and la Becque (La Tour-de-Peilz, CH). The trio’s installations have also traveled to The ZKM (Karlsruhe, DE), Jeu de Paume (Paris, FR), The Kunstraum (Vienna, AU), the Centre Culturel Suisse (Paris, France), the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Art and Space (Prague, CZ), The Mirage Festival (Lyon, FR), the Getxophoto festival in Bilbao (Spain), Cairotronica (Egypt), The Shenzhen media art festival (China), The Cello Factory Gallery (London, UK), The National Theatre (Londres, UK) and to the York Art Gallery (York, UK).
The residency with Fragmentin is for the month of April with the launch of their new work on the 2nd of July 2022.
Author: Alexa Kusber
Alexa Jeanne Kusber is an American independent curator and creative based in Zurich, Switzerland. Throughout her career she has maintained a focus on questioning and expanding the notion of curating. She currently is the Curatorial Director at the Verbier 3-D Foundation and collaborates independently on projects that excite her.
Published: March 2022
Cover picture: FRAGMENTIN’s work N1-Observatory at Art Safiental in 2020