Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Safiental art biennale The Swiss valley turned into an artists' playground

Blue figure lying on their side in the landscape.

One of the 15 exhibits at the Safiental Art Biennale, 2018, in canton Graubünden

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

Swiss and international artists have transformed the landscape along the length of a valley in southeastern Switzerland. For a second time, this corner of Switzerland has become a canvas for the 'Safiental Art Biennale'. Here is a selection of the artwork.

1. Pulpit in the pines (Bergkanzel by Com&Com)

The Bergkanzel (Mountain Pulpit), allows different views down into the valley, as it did in its last visit to the 2016 Safiental (Safien valley) Art Biennale. It is perched above the River Rabiusa, 25 km north in an old quarry. A footbridge at the rear of the construction leads the way. The Swiss artists who created the work, started collaborating in 1997. Marcus Gossolt and Johannes M. Hedinger live and work in Zurich, St Gallen and London.

view if the forest and a wooden construction

Bergkanzel (Accessible wooden installation).

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

2. Silver and stones (Safiental-Karrette by H.R. Fricker)

H.R. Fricker's work is composed of 16 stones. They were removed from their natural habitat in the Safien valley and have taken on a new life indoors, transformed into placemats and beer-mats in most of the restaurants in the Safien valley, bringing nature to the table. 

A stone on slate and a knife, fork and spoon.

Safiental-Karrette (different objects consisting of wheelbarrow, stones, placemats, card game.) 

(Photo: Johannes Hedinger)

3. A risky descent (Looking for oneself within the gorge of Acla by Gabriela Gerber/Lukas Bardill )

Artist duo Gabriela Gerber/Lukas Bardill have gone subterranean with their exhibit. Deep in the Aclatobel tunnel, visitors will find a video installation of a live infrared image of themselves projected onto the rock face in a (closed circuit) playback loop, giving the impression that they are merging with the tunnel wall. The ascent is at the visitor’s own risk (although helmets are provided)! 

Cave and people wearing hard hats

Looking for oneself within the gorge of Acla (Installation with camera projection consisting of network camera, projector, microphone and loudspeaker)

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

This article has focused on the Swiss artists at the event, for a full list of the artworks involved and their locations, see the official event websiteexternal link.


4. Circle of Light (Lichtkreis im Safiental by Ingeborg Lüscher)

Sulphur is the choice of material for Ingeborg Lüscher's paintings, sculptures and outdoor installations. In a meadow she has created a closed circle of light with yellow sulphur which needs sunlight for it to glow.

Man on them grass making a circle with powder

Lichtkreis im Safiental (Floor sculpture made of sulphur)

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

5. Raising concrete (Egschi Shell by Bob Gramsma)

After the emptying of the reservoir ‘Egschisee‘, Zurich artist Bob Gramsma built a concrete shell (8m x 8m) on the floor of the lake. Its 10 tonne weight was lifted by the sheer pressure of the returning water providing the lake with a new landmark.

 People sitting in a concrete shell in the middle of a lake.

Egschi Shell (Sculpture made of lightweight concrete with hollow body modules and reinforcement) 

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

 6. Walk-in camera (Camera Obscura / Stanza Obscura by Ueli Alder)

Photographer Ueli Alder converted a traditional barn into a walk-in camera obscura, or pinhole camera. When a visitor's vision has adjusted to the darkness, the picture becomes visible. 

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura / Stanza Obscura (Walk-in installation)

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

7. A fine line (Explosion by Roman Signer)

Renowned Swiss artist Roman Signer created an explosion in the Safien valley in 1982. This black-and-white photograph has been taken with a long exposure to depict 100 metres of explosive cord hanging from balloons as it burns. The one exhibit of his work is to be seen at Thalkirch - a hamlet towards the end of Safien valley in the Surselva district. 

Black and white photo with a strip of light

A photo of Roman Signers 'Explosion', which he performed in 1982.

(Photo: Emil Grubenmann)

8. Into the blue (Himmel III by Bildstein & Glatz)

Following the theme of the Biennale's title 'Horizontal – Vertical', the The Swiss-Austrian artist duo Bildstein&Glatz take their inspiration from the world of extreme sport. Himmel III (Heaven III) – a blue ramp with yellow stripe - encourages the view of Safiental’s mountainous landscape to be both horizontal and vertical.

A large blue structure, shaped like an L sits in the landscape.

Himmel III (Wood and acrylic sculpture)

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

9. Racing bees (Apedromo by Marianne Halter and Mario Marchisella)

Bees that sound like Formula One racing cars! This is a creation by Marianne Halter and Mario Marchisella. All they needed were 3,000 honey bees, a reservoir and some loudspeakers. There's even a checkered flag to reinforce the imaginary autodrome. From September onwards, there is no longer enough natural food for the bees in the meadowy landscape of Wanna, so they are then taken back to their winter quarters in Valendas, at the other end of the valley. The live transmission will be replaced by a recording of the same bees.

Beehives, resevoir, landscape.

Apedromo (Audio installation, beehives, 3000 bees, flag)

(Photo: Ueli Alder)

Art Safiental - Biennale for Environmental Art
'HORIZONTAL - VERTICALexternal link'

The organisers recommend visitors take more than one day to see all the landscape artworks of all 15 works by Swiss and international artistsexternal link. The venues for the exhibits start at Versam/Safien in the north of Safiental and finish in the south at Wanna. The exhibition runs until October 21, 2018. 

end of infobox

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line

SWI on Instagram

SWI on Instagram

SWI on Instagram

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

Click here to see more newsletters