Forests are vital, living spaces. As forests, they are used by people as a place of cultivation in a variety of ways. They fulfil ecological and, not least, economic functions. Man domesticates the forest by making it "usable". At the same time, as a natural phenomenon, the forest has always been used in art and literature – such as during the Romantic period – as a surface for projection and a place of longing. For humans, the forest is a place to recuperate and find an inner balance. How is the forest represented in contemporary art? The current exhibition at the Helvetia Art Foyer presents works from the insurance group’s art collection that explore different perspectives on this theme.
Deep roots and extensive links
For example, the large-format charcoal drawing "Twin Roots II" by Alain Huck features the powerful, impenetrable root network of two trees. Claudio Moser’s photographic piece "Howland Hill" offers a glimpse of a dense thicket with its multitude of branches buried deep within a forest. The photographic works of Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismark show the forsaken tree landscape, dotted with ruins, in the area around Chernobyl reflected in the eye of a deer. The exhibition also features a work on loan from the artist Marianne Engel: a tree glows luminously in the dark in a way that is both otherworldly and magical at the same time.
Helvetia's protection forest project
For Helvetia, forests have had a special significance for many years. The insurance company is thus committed to looking after protection forests, thereby making a contribution to reforestation and strengthening defences against falling rocks, landslides, avalanches and debris flows. The current exhibition thus connects two very different areas of commitment: the enthusiasm for art and support for preventive measures in issues relating to protection forests.
Commitment to art
The Helvetia Art Foyer is an exhibition space at Helvetia’s head office in Basel that is open to the public. Pieces from Helvetia’s own collection are presented to a broad public in monographic, dialogue-based and thematic exhibitions. The international insurance group’s art collection, with its 1,800 pieces by around 400 artists, is one of the most significant in the area of contemporary Swiss art. In addition, selected artists are invited to the Helvetia Art Foyer for sole exhibitions. A further expression of Helvetia’s commitment to the arts is the Helvetia Art Prize, awarded once a year to an up-and-coming artist.
Key information on the "Tief verwurzelt – Weit verzweigt" exhibition
18 October 2018 until 31 January 2019
Thursdays, 4-8 p.m.
Helvetia Art Foyer, Steinengraben 25, 4051 Basel
Admission is free
Note for media representatives
Journalists may visit the "Tief verwurzelt – Weit verzweigt" exhibition outside of opening hours. To take advantage of this opportunity, please contact the Helvetia media unit:
Phone: +41 (0)58 280 50 33
Marianne Engel, "Stammbaum" (Family tree), 2009
fluorescent colour on bonsai
This media release can also be found on the website www.helvetia.com/media