Home is the title of the first solo exhibition in an Italian museum by Vivian Suter (Buenos Aires, 1949), curated by Lorenzo Giusti.
Part of the program of events of Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture, the exhibition brings together nearly 200 canvases produced by the artist throughout various stages of her career.
The daughter of Austrian-born artist Elisabeth Wild (1922–2020) and a Swiss industrialist who emigrated to Argentina, Vivian Suter lived at great length on the margins of the art system until, in more recent times, her work was rediscovered, to the point of establishing itself as one of the most significant and original contributions to the history of painting in the last four decades.
After training at the Basel Academy of Fine Arts, and going on to travel extensively throughout the Global South, Suter settled in Guatemala in the early ‘80s, on the shores of Lake Atitlán. Since then, her work has developed through an increasingly close exchange with the elements of the extraordinary natural and anthropological context in which her home-studio in Panajachel fits, amid indigenous communities, rainforests and volcanic peaks.
Open to the infinite possibilities of chance, Vivian Suter’s canvases—soiled by wind, rain, mud or the small organisms of the forest—tell of the intimate bond that couples them with the life forces of the environment from which they spring. Nature intervenes as a co-author in her works, which come across as a spontaneous grafting of shapes and colors that recall the forest’s tangle of lights, as well as the glimpses of landscape framed by the windows of her home, in a continuous cross-reference between inside and outside.
The exhibition at GAMeC restores the visual dimension of this extraordinary union, the density of the integrated system of plants, people, animals, and relationships that underlies Suter’s work. A dimension in which art and nature are seamlessly blended into one another.
At the center of the exhibition space, a wooden structure evokes this domestic dimension, while the canvases hanging on it, along with those distributed along the walls of the large room that houses them—painted in the same purple-red and aquamarine green colors as the artist’s own home—simulate the intertwining of forms, lights, and colors so characteristic of the environment in which the works originate and are transformed.
Closely bound up in one another, Vivian Suter’s canvases constitute an ecosystem evocative of climatic, sensory, and emotional experiences. Distributed freely throughout the space, the works selected for the Bergamo exhibition account for the diverse pictorial motifs developed by the artist over the past few years. What appear to us as abstract forms or colorful graphic signs are concrete elements of her everyday life for Vivian Suter. They are logs, branches, leaves, and stones from her own garden, or open views of the landscape around her home in Panajachel.
In conjunction with the opening of the solo exhibition Vivian Suter. A Stone in the Lake at the Vienna Secession (April 28 – June 18, 2023)—promoted by the Secession Council and curated by Jeanette Pacher—a monographic publication co-produced by GAMeC and Secession, with texts by Lorenzo Giusti, Jeanette Pacher, Dieter Roelstraete, and Vivian Suter, will be presented.
The wooden structure which forms part of the exhibition installation at GAMeC is designed and built by Marlegno, a leading Italian company in the construction of wooden sustainable housing guided by the principles of the circular economy.
The show is also supported through the Bergamo Brescia 2023 Committee by Intesa Sanpaolo and Brembo.