120710: Kunstmuseum Luzern Stefan à Wengen. The Mission

Kunstmuseum Luzern Stefan à Wengen. The Mission 30.4.10 – 01.08.10 Who is the bad guy? The title of Stefan à Wengen’s exhibition “The Mission” immediately raises the question on which type of mission could be meant and if this Swiss expat’s first institutional solo exhibition is attempting to do missionary work. His works are hanged alternately and in dialogue with each other and are not separated by different rooms. They depict a limited repertoire of motives: nature scenes with simple architectural constructions such as wooden huts or tree houses in the midst of dense forests as well as animals, roots or water. A large series of portraits is hung in the last room. We perceive the tree houses through the eyes of a child with a view from below; sanctuaries mounted in between branches. The onlooker’s view drifts through unknown territory; dwellings present themselves as ambivalent places full of silence and unrest, memories and new adventures, inhabited and at the same time deserted. In front of some huts, à Wengen positions symbols of western culture in the form of modernistic sculptures. As if they originated in a different world, they stand in the midst of an archaic landscape and symbolize the path from the artist’s source of inspiration to the work of art. All paintings are dominated by colour. Gradations of mostly bright colour tones dominate the surface, sometimes in contrast to their complementary colours: an orange-coloured canoe is floating on the blue water in front of purple undergrowth In The Mission XIII (2008) and a raised hide is depicted in front of a purple, yellow, and green setting in Pulpit (2009). On the one hand, à Wengen copies characteristics of photography and on the other hand he intensifies the omnipresent impression of eerie and surreal scenes. Over and over, he focuses on animal eyes as well as the “evil eye” of humans. In the 49 Ghost Portraits, à Wengen set the eyes of criminals into faces, which were randomly chosen from photo databases. Yet they all don’t have an “evil eye”, but rather an indifferent or even a smiling face. It is the physiognomy and not the pair of eyes which allows one to draw a conclusion about a person’s character. What is uncanny are the repetitions of the same pairs of eyes in a variety of faces, making us feel uncomfortable about ourselves, because à Wengen’s symbiosis of the apparent good and bad throws us back to the invisible badness within us. It is a lot of fun to be missionized by á Wengen's pictures and to ask: who is the bad guy? By Marianne Wagner Kunstmuseum Luzern 6002 Luzern, Europaplatz 1 Tel: +41 (0) 41 226 78 00 Fax: +41 (0) 41 226 78 01 email: info@kunstmuseumluzern.ch http://www.kunstmuseumluzrn.ch Opening hours: Tue, Wed 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thu-Sun: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kunstmuseum Luzern
6002 Luzern, Europaplatz 1
Tel: +41 (0) 41 226 78 00, Fax: +41 (0) 41 226 78 01
Email: info@kunstmuseumluzern.ch
Öffnungszeiten: Di, Mi 10-20, Do-So 10-17 h

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