Swiss artist Klodin Erb groups the works exhibited in "A Long Day" to create a scenography that plays with the interaction of visual irritation and familiarity. In an age of social upheaval, political polarization and identitarian movements, people are searching for reference points that corroborate their own views. Klodin Erb uses artistic media to take a stance on social discourse and change. Her works ask how a current artistic position can respond to doubts about the truth and reality of visual and linguistic testimony. They are about beliefs and ideology, mechanisms of personal affirmation and the construction of personal identity.
An idealized landscape as a three-dimensional spatial experience
The exhibition is named after Klodin Erb’s latest video, which shows a landscape she developed for an exhibition at the Centre d’art Pasquart in Biel/Bienne. She transformed a fixed 21-metre long showcase in a corridor of the museum into an idealized landscape. Multiple levels in the work turn it into a three-dimensional spatial experience depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The camera travels steadily across the landscape, accompanied by distinctive organ music, with dark tones and harsh rhythms forming a stark contrast to the charm of the natural image and adding a dramatic dimension.
A monumental installation
"Der Vorhang" ("The curtain") is an installation comprising a dark-blue velvet curtain in front of a green wall. The curtain falls to the ground in response to a foot-operated switch, revealing an unpainted white wall. Interaction uncovers what had previously been hidden. As soon as the curtain has been restored to its original place, the wall and the curtain regain their unblemished existence. In this work, Klodin Erb plays on affective signals such as the pull of what is hidden and disappointment when the secret is unveiled.
Monochromatic colour combination
The four-part painting "Wundersame Vermehrung, Wallpiece" ("Miraculous propagation") on the opposite wall is an abstract, monochromatic colour combination on an unusually shaped canvas. However, there is nothing arbitrary about its size and shape. The work is a reference to two specific artistic traditions: a multi-panelled winged altarpiece, in other words a polyptych, and a "shaped canvas" that departs from the traditional shape of flat rectangular paintings. The work is covered with delicate, cloud-like shapes in blue Chinese ink. These are not a product of chance; rather they were created by the artist’s experience and knowledge of the materials used. The link between this formal austerity and visual lightness leaves plenty of scope for interpretation by the viewer: from contemplative consideration through a framed view of nature to an inverse x-ray image.
"Billboards", a group of works in a separate room, showcases Klodin Erb’s interest in contemporary questions relating to systems of belief and ideological convictions. Reminiscent of advertising billboards, the paintings combine a communicative statement with irritating messages. The artist deliberately undermines the rules of communication by omitting understandable content and clear messages.
The Helvetia Art Foyer is a publicly accessible exhibition space at Helvetia’s head office in Basel. Works from the company’s art collection are exhibited to the general public in solo shows, in dialogue and themed exhibitions. Selected artists are also invited to put on solo exhibitions. The Art Foyer is only one element in Helvetia's commitment to art as an art insurer. It also presents the annual Helvetia Art Prize for young artists. The art collection of Helvetia, an international insurance group, comprises around 1,800 works by some 400 artists and is one of the most important collections of contemporary Swiss art.
Key information on the "A Long Day" exhibition
7 June to 4 October 2018
Every Thursday from 4 until 8 p.m.
Additional opening hours during Art Basel:
Wednesday 13 June to Friday 15 June 2018 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Helvetia Insurance, Art Foyer, Steinengraben 25, 4051 Basel
Admission is free
Note for media representatives
Journalists may visit "A Long Day" outside of opening hours. To take advantage of this opportunity, please contact the Helvetia media unit:
Phone: +41 58 280 50 33
Klodin Erb, «Der Vorhang», 2018
Blue velvet, lining, mechanical action, wood
approx. 350 x 200 x 100 cm
Courtesy Lullin+Ferrari, Zurich