For the fifth time the quadriennial overview of Swiss Sculpture has come into being; it has been sixteen years that we have been able to watch an artistic genre grow continually,changing, burying the old and creating the new as it tirelessly breathes mysterious life into lifeless matter, placing it under unexpected tension and into surprising relationships.
We have long known that art knows no national boundaries; that our art in the heart of the old cultural domain is in steady communication with the outside world; that it is affected by the vast currents of world events; and that in its turn it has a productive impact on the world around it; it is with marvelling eyes that we have been watching this adventure of an evolving world that finds ever new pathways, and always intervenes exactly where one would have least suspected.
The term of "statuary" has long been obsolete – no statues are being hewn any longer, for the techniques of this art have also adapted to our times: artists solder, weld, rivet and glue; they screw, saw, drill and jackhammer; they oxidise and increasingly they spray and paint, working on stone, metal, wood, glass and all sorts of mysterious synthetic materials; there is no material, no form, no surface and no colour or paint too outlandish to be used for a work of art.
The harder the times and the more menacing the global situation, the more alive and fertile art has seemed to become and one does not err if one relates the two: the more thoroughly mankind plans its own destruction, the more intensely the artists work on creating a new and better world under their own steam.
100 artists with 200 works amassing a total weight of one 140 tonnes – Marcel Joray, the tireless and inventive founder and artistic director of this Exhibition has again brought them to Biel from all over Switzerland and they are all connected by two characteristics: they have been created by Swiss artists, or at least in Switzerland, and they were created within the past four years. Among the artists we will find old friends to whom "Biel" matters; and then there are again the young ones, unknown artists on whom Marcel Joray lavishes his attention, for this is the first time that many of them have the opportunity of presenting themselves to the public, and of competing with their established peers.
Not all that is presented here may be "pleasant"; the world which is being created anew is not so; not every trail blazed here will lead to a destination; all the more thrilling, then, the artistic adventure of engaging in the search, to which we invite each visitor.
Again, the federal government, the canton of Bern, and especially the city of Biel have been generous in their support to make this happen. To them, and to all the many helpers who contributed towards this event, our thanks.
© Translation from German, July 2008: Margret Powell-Joss