James Lee Byars
In November 1779, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe crossed the Furka Pass and was deeply impressed by his remarkable natural surroundings – human beings, he wrote, seemed ‹less worthy of notice amid these grand objects of nature›. 175 years later, in 1964, the Furka Pass’ sinuous road was the setting of the legendary car chase between James Bond and Tilly Masterson in ‹Goldfinger›. The film scenes are world-famous, as are Goethe’s accounts of his travels. In a less well-known gesture, in 1983 American artist James Lee Byars splashed a drop of black perfume onto a boulder, marking the beginning of the project ‹Furk’art›, in which he took part again the following year in collaboration with Josef Beuys.
The exhibition at the Bromer Art Collection deals with the deeply authentic Swiss region of the Furka, which is home to the European Watershed between the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea. This region in Central Switzerland has elicited a surprisingly rich production of artworks and has strongly formed and transformed the gaze and vision of artists since the 18th century. The wide-ranging exhibition will explore historical and current relations between nature and culture, reflecting their variety, complexity and inconsistency through various artistic positions.
Displays will include scientific accounts and maps, works by Swiss Alpine painters and their followers - exploring the region in the context of their ‹Grand Tour› -, advertising art, and works by contemporary artists. One focus will be the project ‹Furk’art›, which beginning in 1983 brought together important representatives of the international art world at an altitude of over 2400 metres. Next to historical documents and photographs, the show will feature works by Caspar Wolf (1735-1783), Alexandre Calame (1810-1864), François Diday (1802- 1877), Franz Schütz (1855-1945), Richard Long (*1945) and James Lee Byars (1932- 1997).