The Swiss artist Paul Wiedmer explores the possibilities of synthesis between heavy industry products – cast iron and steel – and all things natural and vegetable. Everything is subject to the constant law of change, everything is moved by a profound harmony that the artist explores through the organic forms of the metal, and sometimes the use of fire and mechanical movement.
The exhibition Paul Wiedmer. Iron. Forms. Energy, from 15 April to 28 May at the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation, presents the series of the Objets boudlés, formed by twenty-six works completed between 1974 and 1976 with scrap metal, discovered and unearthed in the cantons of Switzerland with the help of a metal detector and assembled according to the place of origin. Also on show are Lava (2015) and the installation Stützen der Gesellschaft, created between 2011 and 2016 and inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s play, The Pillars of Society.
In the late Sixties and early Seventies, Paul Wiedmer was assistant to Bernhard Luginbühl, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, with whom he collaborated on the creation of many great works, like the Golem in Jerusalem, Chaos in Columbus, Indiana, the Cyclop in Milly-la-Forêt, the Crocrodrome in Paris and the Tarot Garden in Capalbio, Tuscany. In the meantime, Wiedmer developed a personal style, with fire and iron as key features of his poetry; all his production investigates the generative forces of nature, the mechanisms of the cosmos, the energies that come from the earth. Since 1997 the art of Paul Wiedmer has found its natural space in Civitella d’Agliano, near Viterbo, where he created the art park La Serpara. Here, in perfect harmony with nature, the park hosts a display of Wiedmer’s sculptures together with the works of many artists who share the same sensitivity.
The Objets boudlés on display at the Geiger Foundation is a series of twenty-six works made mainly between 1975 and 1976, through the assemblage of scrap metal found with the aid of a metal detector and dug up in the twenty-six cantons of Switzerland. There is deep harmony with the Nouveau Réalisme movement and with the poetics of the recovery of objects discarded by industrial society, properly revitalized through accumulation and assemblage, to which, however, a conceptual component is added that comes close to the subsequent developments of 20th-century art. Wiedmer develops the basic concepts of research, excavation, extraction from the ground of objects intimately related to the earth, often as fragments of agricultural tools; another leading theme is the idea of making inventories, systematically cataloguing, sorting out and assembling the finds according to the place where they were recovered.
On display are twenty-five of the twenty-six works, since the one that completes the series accompanied its deceased owner in her last journey, in a poetic return to the ground.
Each work is accompanied by a lithograph depicting it.
The exhibition is completed by two recent works. Stützen der Gesellschaft, inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s play, The Pillars of Society, is an installation consisting of thirteen props painted in bright colours and covered with welded metal forms; this work conveys a sense of fun, play and freedom, as opposed to the hypocrisy and lack of moral values of bourgeois society—a central theme in the play from which it takes its name. On the other hand, Lava is a work dedicated to the energy of the forces arising from the depths of the earth: they reveal themselves through the magma that erupts in tongues of fire or solidifies in grey basalt lava flows, represented by means of enamelled steel spirals and iron pillars.
Paul Wiedmer. Iron. Forms. Energy
From 15 April to 28 May 2017
Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation
Piazza Guerrazzi 32, Cecina (LI)
Open daily from 4 to 8 pm. Free admission
Opening: Saturday 15 April, 5 pm