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Art Harald Szeemann: Grandfather, a pioneer like us

The current retrospective of Harald Szeemann's work in Bern also includes a reconstruction of the 1974 exhibition, Grandfather, a pioneer like us.

On view at its original site, a former flat inhabited by Szeemann on Gerechtigkeitsgasse 74, in Bern, the show is made up exclusively from possessions belonging to Szeemann's grandfather, a Hungarian immigrant who set up a hairdressing salon upon arrival in Switzerland, in 1904. The objects are arranged in themes such as family tree, roots in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, professional life, and grandfather's contributions to hairdressing and beauty. 

"When visiting memorials or making exhibitions, there was always one question that fascinated me: 'Can life be artificially reconstituted from objects?' A one-to-one reconstruction of [grandfather's] apartment wouldn't have done it. Grandfather's idiosyncratic sense of order needed to be broken down for display." (Harald Szeemann).

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