A bronze sculpture of a young woman with a green patina stands in a park in Geneva. The statue has an almost overly delicate and long body with a head that is far too small. Seams are evident at her shoulder joints and just below her stomach. Lucy McKenzie’s Anonymous Statue (2022) is actually a mannequin. The work is one of more than 24 works that will be exhibited at the third edition of the sculpture garden in Geneva and will remain on view until September.
The project was initiated in 2018 to showcase Geneva as an art hub and is now being curated by Devrim Bayar. This outdoor exhibition takes place in two adjoining parks and the nearby beach of Lake Geneva – with works by Meriem Bennani, Sophia Al-Maria, Willem Oorebeek and Douglas Abdell, among others.
McKenzie’s sculpture is based on the original plastic mannequin. Although perhaps it doesn’t matter which doll served as the original for the bronze casting, since they all look alike anyway except for their non-existent hair. Anonymous Statue examines the relationship between public statues and commercially manufactured mannequins.
Dolls vs Statues
For McKenzie, both figures are shaped by their age: the statue by its embedding in a historical practice that commemorates personalities – and the doll by the constantly changing demands of the fashion world. Although Daniel Lie doesn’t criticize the fashion world in Them (2022), Lie and McKenzie’s work seem to flow seamlessly together. For the sculpture garden, Lie has made huge pieces of textile that hang from the crowns of a group of redwoods, blowing in the wind. In Lie’s installations, organic materials often transform themselves and thus reflect their own temporality.
If, starting from Lie’s work, you walk through the park and past the various other sculptures, you finally reach an inflatable ecstasy pill, larger than a human being, in the middle of several trees. Berlin-based artist Zusanna Czebatul’s work has the words “Rush” and “Revolution” embossed on one side. The artist, who was involved with Daniel Lie in another outdoor exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie last summer, addresses rave culture and clubs as places of social utopia.
The Art Weekend stretches across Zurich
Zurich is about a two-hour train ride from Geneva’s sculpture park. Another major art event recently took place there: the Zurich Art Weekend. It is a mixture of the Gallery Weekend and the Art Week in Berlin with numerous exhibition openings in galleries and institutions as well as talks and tours.
Most of the events and exhibitions are concentrated here in the Löwenbräu, a building that houses several galleries. Here, for example, you can see a solo exhibition by Sophia Al-Maria, who is also represented in the sculpture garden. In addition to a solo exhibition by Jack Whitten, Hauser & Wirth is showing a work by Frank Bowling, whose son is giving a guided tour on the occasion of the Art Weekend.
He talks about his father’s rigorous work ethic, who went to the studio non-stop for 50 days after a hospital stay. Bowling’s large-scale paintings experiment with bright colors and also contain unexpected moments. For example, one of the paintings features an oyster shell that has been dipped in paint.
A few meters away, next to the Francesca Pia gallery, which is showing a group exhibition with Alvin Baltrop, Heimo Zobernig and Wade Guyton, one can find a solo exhibition by the Berlin-based artist Raphaela Vogel. The exhibition features white plastic lions suspended from aluminum poles that seem to float in the gallery space. They seem almost surreal and stand in stark contrast to Nina Beier’s hyper-realistic lions in Geneva’s sculpture garden.
The Zurich Art Weekend runs through the entire city. Even on Langestrasse you can find art next to bars, clubs, brothels and streetwalkers. Here is the Wynx Club project space, a curatorial project by students at the Zurich Art Academy. Along with other off-spaces, they are also an official part of the Art Weekend, which shows that not only galleries like Hauser & Wirth can take part, but that independent spaces are also supported.
The works of Sculpture garden as part of the Geneva Biennale can be seen until September: www.sculpturegarden.ch