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Swiss Pop

Exhibition view Swiss Pop 2006, photo: David Aebi

Exhibition view Swiss Pop 2006, photo: David Aebi

Exhibition view Swiss Pop 2006, photo: David Aebi

Exhibition view Swiss Pop 2006, photo: David Aebi

2. July – 27. August 2006

Kunstmuseum

This summer, under the heading "Swiss Pop", the Kunstmuseum Thun will be focusing on a chapter in Swiss art history which has received very little attention to date. Since the 1980 exhibition “Pop Art und verwandte Strömungen in der Schweiz” (Pop Art and related trends in Switzerland) mounted here in Thun, no other extensive exhibitions have been held on this topic. Our research found that there is a great interest in Pop Art again today. Historical Pop Art and its successors and off-shoots are topical once more. No better time to review and revalue Swiss Pop Art.

Pop Art is a movement that was formed mainly in New York and London and was closely linked with the feeling for life of a single epoch and generation. The artists found their themes in everyday life, mirrored the realities of their time and reflected changes in their culture. Banal consumer goods, such as Coca Cola bottles or canned food, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, the media stars of the time, plus the mediocre design of modern life were all utilized for artistic purposes. Comics, pin-up magazines and advertising served as sources for images – the trivial became art-worthy; the entertainment world and high culture drew closer. With their provocative works, artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Richard Hamilton also influenced and fascinated a younger artist-generation in Switzerland. The innovative pictorial solutions they arrived at fell on fertile Swiss soil, especially in the lively art scenes of the time in Berne, Aarau and Lucerne. Artists such as Samuel Buri, Markus Raetz, Franz Gertsch, Margit Jäggli, Peter Stämpfli and Benedikt Fivian welcomed the fresh artistic wind from abroad. Of the works they produced, some were strongly influenced by their models, while others exhibited an independent artistic idiom.

“Swiss Pop” will present a comprehensive view of Swiss Pop Art of the 1960s and 70s, identifying the different trends and underscoring the specific features of Swiss Pop. Attention will also be paid to the channels by which Pop Art found its way here from the Anglo-Saxon realm, and the attitude with which it was received. These are just some of the issues that will be addressed in the exhibition.

The exhibition will draw mainly on our own collection. For a long time, Pop Art was the focal point of the Kunstmuseum Thun's acquisition policy, so that it is predestined to be a venue for an exhibition on this theme. Despite our important stocks, however, a comprehensive presentation of Swiss Pop Art would not be possible without works on loan. Therefore the exhibition will be rounded out by numerous important works from other museums and from private owners.

Artists in the exhibition:
Alfred Auer, Urs Bänninger, Samuel Buri, Herbert Distel, Franz Eggenschwiler, Bendicht Fivian, Franz Gertsch, Margrit Jäggli, Urs Lüthi, Markus Raetz, Werner Ritter, Hugo Schumacher, Peter Stämpfli u.a.