Year 2021 - a review

Year 2021 - a review

Dear friends and connected people,

Many people I meet these days ask: « and the Visual Art School, are you managing, do you still keep going? » And, of course they mean in these strange times can a private art school survive? In the light of this question, here a few thoughts and reflections on the last year.

2021 began with the theme POETRY OF COLOUR, a journey through the syntax and grammar of the relationships of colours and their playful interpretation. Poetry and music were the landscapes, as it were, that painting could interpret. It seems to be so much part of the search of the modern to free things from their one sidedness. For us painters to breath in the fine air of musical intervals and play the colour palette; searching the equivalence to the notes of a violin - in this case that of the musician Matthias Klenota - was a liberating experience. The poetry of the great Japanese Haiku masters like Basho with their essential reduction embracing life through simple imagery of the living moment, opened up another field for painterly interpretation with an emphasis on the Klang of the word.

To discover the poet in each of us takes one beyond the flat surface of our normal perceptions, awakening one to the creative logos potentially inherent in each instant.

Colour, word, sound; the senses wide open in the here-and-now, coupled with the activity of their interplay was a healing process in the face of all that was crushing. It was definitely more than just survival, it was a confirmation of life in the face of – “don’t live, be afraid, do what your told, don’t question….”

The other themes we looked into in 2021 in the full-time study course with 12-14 students and the part-time studies with 20 students were: THE FOUR ELEMENTS in the spring term and in the autumn the theme of HUMAN SPACE. Springtime 21 was tricky for travelling with a big group, so the long-planned fieldtrip of 10 days working artistically and being part of a self-sustaining village in the mountains of Piedmont in northern Italy was unfortunately cancelled. One of the side effects of this was the confirmation that the elements of earth, air, water and fire are everywhere and essentially are the basis of our whole existence. So not only do we find these forces all around us and in such everyday acts as making a coffee but also looking into the different levels of our being we can connect to them in our bone structures, our circulation and breathing, our feelings and thoughts. So, although there were strong regrets that we weren’t able to work amidst the impressions of nature in the mountains perhaps we delved deeper into our own resources here in Münchenstein/Basel.

The theme going through all the year 2020/2021 was ART IN CHALLENGING TIMES and the challenge of remaining flexible in the face of ever new and often cloudy rules and regulations has perhaps put even more into clear focus the questions of basic human truths.

Somebody said that death wasn’t invented in 2020 and the acceptance of death right into its last consequences is the fruitful place where things can begin anew.

After the summer break the theme of HUMAN SPACE and the overriding theme of ART AND FREEDOM carried us into an intense working period with an emphasis on the movement of the human body and its relation to space. Movement and freedom in a wider sense seem inseparable- so the static of an image, a picture, shows the traces of past movement and transformation but possibly offers new, future orientated perspectives- these depend a lot on the state of freedom and here all levels of freedom are challenged, of the image maker and the perceiver.

A highlight of the year 2020 was the deepening of a new collaboration between the Bio Stiftung Schweiz and the Visual Art School and the realization of a common conference in the school with Johannes Stüttgen -the master student and co-worker of Joseph Beuys with the theme: Die Freiheit auf dem Begriff gebracht – die Richtkraft in der gefählichen Zeit-jetzt. Freedom brought down to the concept – the force of verticality in these dangerous times -now.

We from the Visual Art School look forward to more challenges and the new inner and artistic freedom that will be the fruits thereof.

We are proud of the two students in the fulltime program who successfully completed their diploma projects last year: Caroline Donati and Ylvie Reinauer and three students from the part-time program: Pat Amweg, Nicola Schwarzentruber and Madeleine Wick – congratulations!

Many thanks to the whole working team: Natacha Di Nucci- office and administration and guest teacher, Duilio Martins- photography, web support and guest teacher, Rowan Blockey-body awareness and theatre teacher. And many thanks to all other guest-teachers and course participants

Warm greetings and wishing you all creativity and energy in the coming year.