Gallerynote 4/2007

September 13 to November 3, 2007

ANDREAS CHRISTEN (1936 – 2006)
On February 8, 2005, Andreas Christen held up and held on during the exhausting hours of the opening of his exhibition, the last presentation of new works determined and compiled by the artist himself. In particular, he wanted to see and show the four major new objects. They were realized by the carpenter Peter Giger. Andreas was glad to make use of Peter Giger's talents, counting on his mechanical perfection and reliability for many years. In the gallery spaces, these works were now able to be presented under adequate conditions. He saw each exhibition as a precisely defined placement. A concise and profound exhibition free from any sort of arbitrariness.

The object as a counterpart of the artist and the beholder, this constellation precisely delineates the starting and end point of the working method and the convictions of Andreas Christen. The object, its mental and pragmatic obligation, was the subject of his interest, as an artist and as a designer.

Andreas Christen practiced in two spheres of activity, art and product form. These fields are tangentially connected yet do not overlap. With good reason, he thus chose to keep the two worlds separate, although he was able to carry over the necessary learning processes in each case and make use of accumulated experiences. He never tired of acutely defining these fields of activity, their premises and their aims. Ernst Tugendhat addresses and describes intellectual honesty in a recent publication as a discrete, self-satisfying value. Such a norm – one could describe it as artistic and intellectual honesty – was something Andreas felt bound to his whole life long. Those who wanted to push aside his art as not in keeping with the times had to first do away with this inconvenient norm. In the eyes of Andreas, there were no good reasons to do so.

Artist and designer engaged in a constructive dialogue with the object, a kind of give and take. It was in this way that Andreas Christen arrived at his results, his objects. Something common to both activities is the fact that the thing in question is first conceived, planned, that its fabrication shifts between the idea and the real object. The associated risk becomes minimized through experience, more a matter of deduction than induction. To get to the essential, such a manner of life's work is a sound path to take. Just as Andreas Christen was convinced that there cannot be thousands of good chairs, in the latter years of his life he saw focusing on few works, with small differences, as a way to render what is intended, what is essential.

The prescribed number of pieces, function and technology are obligatory and welcome specifications for the designer of commodities. The user is the buyer. The work of art, on the other hand, is oriented to the perception and no superfluous material or superfluous form should be imposed on the viewer. Space, light, form and seeing comprising a whole and a continuum and the perceiver being involved in the constitution of the work of art: this is the sort of visual cognition facilitated by the objects of Andreas Christen.

Our exhibition unites works from the early 1960s with those created in his later years. The great talent and extensive experience join together to make a circle of life.

A publication on the work of Andreas Christen will be put out by the gallery.