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Swiss art honoured in Madrid

"Flying Walls", from Switzerland's Philipp Krebs, is one of the works of art on display in Spain. Pro Helvetia

The spotlight will be on contemporary Swiss art when Switzerland is guest of honour at Arco 03 - one of Europe's biggest art fairs - in the Spanish capital next month.

This content was published on January 8, 2003 - 18:59

At the same time a range of art events is taking place in Madrid as part of a Swiss government programme to improve cultural exchanges with Spain.

The various events will showcase the best of Swiss art from the turn of the 20th century to the present day.

Eighteen Swiss galleries are taking part in Arco 03, which is expected to attract around 200,000 visitors between February 13 and 18. The Mira Suiza (Look at Switzerland) programme will continue for a further three years.

"Young Swiss Art" is the theme of Switzerland's contribution, which aims to draw attention to the country's finest emerging talents.

Dynamic friendship

Meanwhile, 15 separate exhibitions in Madrid will cover Swiss art in its various forms, from architecture to installation art, photography and video.

They will feature big names such as Klee, Hodler and Giacometti, but also up-and-coming artists like Philipp Krebs, whose "Flying Walls" project - huge helium-filled balloons in the national colours of Spain and Switzerland - will be installed at the Templo de Debot.

According to the organisers, the image created "symbolises the dynamic friendship between Spain and Switzerland".

The Arts Council of Switzerland said the programme of events surrounding Arco 03 was the ideal opportunity to introduce the people of Madrid to Swiss modern art.

"More than 20,000 Swiss live in Spain, among them artists who are for the first time able to show their work in their adopted homeland," it said.

"We will have a wide range of exhibitions," Swiss curator to Arco 03 Martin Schwander told swissinfo.

"We'll have some historical exhibitions... we'll have thematic exhibitions... and then solo exhibitions by important Swiss artists, for example by Miriam Cahn, Steiner and Lenzlinger and Mireille Gros.

Special guest

Rosina Gomez-Baeza, the director of Arco 03, said she had observed a revival in the Swiss art scene over the past decade.

She told swissinfo that Switzerland had been selected as this year's special guest country "because of this revival, because of this intensity... because of the art".

"I think it's going to be our best year ever, because Switzerland art-wise is a very interesting country," Gomez-Baeza said.

She said the dynamism of the new generation of artists, and the support they received from public and private organisations in Switzerland, served as an example to Spain and the rest of the world.

swissinfo, Morven McLean and Samantha Tonkin

Key facts

Swiss contemporary art is being exhibited in galleries in Madrid.
In addition, Switzerland is guest of honour at one of Europe's biggest art fairs, Arco 03.
The organisers hope to highlight Switzerland's thriving art scene.

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