openArt in Roveredo – A Remarkable Open Air Exhibition

For the nineteenth time a very special open-air exhibition will take place in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, the openArt in Roveredo. Embedded in the dreamlike Swiss Mountain Landscape, the sculpture park in the countryside offers an impressive backdrop for the works of over 60 international artists, but the exhibition has also become more than that. It has become a meeting place for artists, sculptors, performance artists, art collectors, and art lovers of all kinds.

 Fireworks artists, musicians, and theatre groups also find their platform at openArt. For example, the opening fireworks display has already become legendary in the short amount of time it has been happening.The exhibited works are as varied as the participants themselves. They form a cross-section of contemporary art movements and international positions. Traditional materials and established techniques are juxtaposed with experimental approaches and large-scale installations.

Among the international artists, some members of sculpture network are represented as well.

KUSPI 019 shows his sculpture Totemisierte Erde (Totemized Earth).

KUSPI 019, "Totemisierte Erde", © KUSPI 019

It stands as a memorial. The artist uses the picture of the totem pole to point out the destructive way man deals with the earth, to make aware of the exploitation of our planet and to warn about the consequences of our behavior. The artist’s plea "Demonstrate for a sustainable use of natural resources. Let us live together peacefully without exploiting nature." hits a nerve in times people around the world are taking to the streets to protest for climate protection.


The artist, who works with many different materials such as iron, wood, metal, rust, expired food, mould, dead stuff, people, and fire, to name only a few, is not interested in the beauty of his art, but in feelings of foreboding, uniqueness, and transience. 

Harry Schaffer, "Three Rings", Roveredo 2019, Photo: Harry Schaffer


Harry Schaffer, who concentrates his art mainly on Landart and Minimal Art, is represented in Roveredo with three sculptures: Three Rings, Big Circle, and Rustico Circle. In dialogue with nature and its authentic materials such as stone, wood, and metal, he uses clear forms and proportions, working with the circle as an element, the golden section of the materials’ aesthetics. Thus his sculptures fit naturally into the landscape and complement it.


Nora Vest, "Luftstreifen", Photo: Nora Vest

For Nora Vest colour is an important element in her art. The versatile artist works with different media and themes: sculptures, installations, paintings, and clothes are just a few of them. Her aim is not only to explore the possibilities of art, but also to bring art to new places, be it in the picturesque Swiss mountain landscape (as in Roveredo), on the water, in parks, or on the street. The former architect surprises again and again with new creative inventions, themes, and techniques. In her well-composed play of colours, the artist creates an ever-changing complexity, especially in interaction with her surroundings. At openArt, she is represented with air stripes, steel steles, digital prints on flag fabric, and glass flowers, described as glass paintings airbrushed from behind. 


 Marcel Bernet, "Urs", "Schlangentanz" and "Tierischer Hipster", Photo: Marcel Bernet


The Swiss Marcel Bernet creates his figurative works exclusively with a chainsaw. His works originate from the entire tribe, which refer to current events, highlight special features, and peculiarities, or refer to profane or religious iconography. The artist attaches special importance to open space, saying that “in free space sculptures become alive, their charisma grows.” Marcel Bernet's work was already shown in Roveredo. This time the artist exhibits three sculptures about the amazement and power of snakes: "Urs has retained the joy of the little things of everyday life, even in old age. The last two figures from my animal mask series work with the image of the snake: Animal Hipster and Snake Dance do not shy away from this magical power". Bernet, who also works as a coach in addition to his work as an artist, describes himself as a student, researcher, and a “beginner again and again.”

Suter & Bult, "Die drei Sesshaften", 2004, Photo: Suter & Bult

The artist duo Suter & Bult have also been part of previous editions of openArt. Christiane Bult and Pascal Suter have been exhibiting works together at various locations in Switzerland, Germany, and France since 1997. Today their sculptures focus on historically layered, archetypal forms that —far more than mere objects— also convey a transferred meaning. Their working principle is “In the search for traces of history, we always find something new and yet at the same time revolve around the old. We deal with form, space and the simultaneous in the non-simultaneous. The non-colour white always plays a central role in our works and stands out from the earth colours used, such as rust brown or ash grey.” This year, they are represented with their new work Den Rahmen sprengen from 2019 and a work from the project Sesshaft, Die drei Sesshaften from 2004.


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Christiane Tureczek, "memento mundi", Photo: Christiane Tureczek


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Christiane Tureczek, "Der Tod und das Mädchen", Photo: Christiane Tureczek

Christiane Tureczek presents Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Girl), a work that is part of the memento mundi series of works created in 2009. The artist's core theme in this cycle is the tragedy of human interaction with nature. The figures, painted white and named after great moments in world history, are therefore constructed as antique amphitheatres in the installation and wear red animal skulls or horns as masks. Each of the sculptures is a victim of environmental influences such as lightning, fungal attack or mudslides. The theoretical intellectual ingenuity of man is contrasted with his destructive lifestyle, which exploits resources. The sculpture Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Girl) – a chestnut trunk struck by lightning –  has a narrow figure reminiscent of a young girl in a wedding dress. Inside, however, under the white patina, the original structure of the wood, partly charred and partly infested with insects, breaks through and reminds us of tissue infested with cancer. The red painted horned skull symbolizes death, which has already taken possession of the girl. At the openArt, the original wooden figure can be seen in bronze.

Other sculpture network artists, presented in Roveredo are Ueli Gantner, Daniel Hardmeier, Line Lindgren, und Noldi Vogler

The works can still be viewed in Roveredo until 6 October. The grand finale on Saturday, 5 October at 4pm will conclude the 19th edition of openArt in the old tradition with cured venison and polenta in the grotto. It is the perfect opportunity to personally get to know the exhibiting artists!

Author: Martina Fischer

Cover picture: Harry Schaffer, Big Circle, Photo: Harry Schaffer


Harry Schaffer, Big Circle, Photo: Harry Schaffer
Harry Schaffer, Big Circle, Photo: Harry Schaffer
Nora Vest, Glasblumen, Photo: Nora Vest
Nora Vest, Glasblumen, Photo: Nora Vest
Nora Vest, Luftstreifen, Photo: Nora Vest
Nora Vest, Luftstreifen, Photo: Nora Vest
Marcel Bernet, Urs, Photo: Marcel Bernet
Marcel Bernet, Urs, Photo: Marcel Bernet
Marcel Bernet, Tierischer Hipster, Photo: Marcel Bernet
Marcel Bernet, Tierischer Hipster, Photo: Marcel Bernet
Marcel Bernet, Schlangentanz , Photo: Marcel Bernet
Marcel Bernet, Schlangentanz , Photo: Marcel Bernet
Suter & Bult, Die drei Sesshaften, Detail, Photo: Suter & Bult
Suter & Bult, Die drei Sesshaften, Detail, Photo: Suter & Bult
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