Festival Images / Geta Brătescu et Zilla Leutenegger
10 September to 2 October 2016
Geta Brătescu (PloieÈ™ti, 1926) is an internationally renowned Romanian visual artist who lives and works in Bucharest. Her artistic practice embraces everything from film to textiles, and especially drawing – for her, a central language that complements writing. She has exhibited around the world, notably at the Venice Biennale in 2013 and in a retrospective at Tate Liverpool in 2015. Her works are represented in the collections of MoMA in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and Tate Modern in London.
Brătescu often introduces herself as the main character in her films, where we watch her searching, feeling her way and drawing. In Les Mains [The Hands] and The Studio, both from the late 1970s, she reflects on her environment and the tools of her trade: the studio, the table, paper, the felt pen, the cigarette and, above all, the body. In so doing, she illuminates an aesthetic of the everyday in a space that is at once protected and domestic. There she films her quest, through her gaze, objects and associations, in an examination of unexpected gestures. The hand and the body divide the location into various thinking spaces. In these films – a hybrid of archive and performance – Geta Brătescu turns the spotlight on the drawing and the various elements that make it up. The studio and the table are seen as a projection, a kind of self-portrait of the artist whose definition is revealed and transformed through gesture.
Zilla Leutenegger (Zurich, 1968) creates drawings and installations that reinterpret intimate and domestic scenes. She places herself centre stage to mime tender and humorous stories that illustrate her relationship with the world. In 2010, the Musée Jenisch Vevey included her in its exhibition Voici un dessin suisse 1990-2010, which was shown at the Musée Rath in Geneva and the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau. She has also exhibited at the Kunstmuseum Chur, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, and the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv.
In response to the open invitation issued by the Musée Jenisch Vevey as part of Festival Images, Zilla Leutenegger presents Zig Zag Stoel and Rodeo Z, an installation that reworks the codes and atmospheres of an American Western movie. Here, she continues her reflection on inner space, play and drawing. Typically, she toys with reality like a tightrope walker on a wire separating the world of dream from that of life. In an attempt to make that impossibility possible, she portrays a shadow in a cowboy hat balancing on the edge of a chair opposite a figure sitting in a rocking chair. Like an echo, the letter Z (as in Zilla) appears as a backdrop in both the titles of the artist’s works and the shape of the chair. Her statement extends to the outside of the museum and onto the front of Vevey fire station with Schlafbrille (Sleep Mask), a poetic installation that comes alive at night.