Esther Mathis – Museum Light


04. 06. – 06. 07. 2018.


photo: Bojan Mrđenović


(…) Museum light spaces emit a metaphor of sensitivity. Harsh, unrelenting weather reigns outside, always changing and marking time. Inside is the dream space of calm artwork, where the necessary abstraction is needed for a new language to unfold. Light spaces serve as gowns, envelopes, and ever-softer membranes in order to achieve the ever-finer textures, to smoothen plaster, to refine paper or liquid paint. The embracing shell transforms the world into coloured pictures, into paintings hanging on walls, the vividness of the landscape into tapestry, movement into abstract compositions. Its function is to replace the sun with soft light and allow the world to live with symbolic icons. Unnoticeable, distant, protective – holding the outside world at bay.

This is the infrastructure of opulence. It is the infrastructure that cherishes luxury, yet understands abundance as a collective need and responsibility. Art in museum collections is an idol and a fantasy, a sumptuous display of objects that are supposed to move us, make us think differently, play with concepts or catapult us into transcendence.

Museums are decadent beings, reliant on public and private donors that spend copious amounts of energy, time and money in protection of artworks which are radical, precious, unique and always waiting to be discovered anew. They demonstrate the desire of human culture to go beyond the common, to break the boundaries, enter into total luxury, transcending the “naturalized” distinction between the necessary and unnecessary. They are places where gods live, places where the infinite manifests itself, where the uncompromising is overwhelmingly welcomed. This is how a museum culture gets created, a safeguard to our minds.

Esther Mathis lives and works in Zürich. She studied Photography at IED in Milan where she was awarded a scholarship for the SVA in New York. She completed her studies in 2015 with a Masters in Fine Arts from the ZHdK in Zürich. In 2014 she received the annual artist prize from the city of Winterthur.
 Her work has been exhibited both locally and internationally. The group exhibitions include Präparat Bergsturz at the Chur Art Museum alongside Roman Signer and Robert Smithson, Doings & kNOTs at the Tallinn Arthall alongside DO IT (Hans Ulrich Obrist & ICI), George Steinmann and Alex Cecchetti. Her work was also part of the Shenzhen Photo Biennale in October 2016. In June 2017, she developed a site-specific solo-exhibition for the Kunsthalle Arbon.


Curator and author of the text: Petra Tomljanović (Kulturfolger)


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