TRANSFERT Art in urban space


TRANSFERT Art in urban space, 10th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition  Biel 2000        17th June – 30th August 2000


Marc-Oliver Wahler

The very concept of what constitutes an art venue has become unclear. Art can just as well take place in a museum or classic Kunsthalle as in a kitchen, on a beach, in a supermarket, a crater, a railway wagon, a farm, barracks, a space station, an answering machine, a golf course, on the Internet, or at the bottom of the deep blue sea... or in a city. Artists no longer draw their references from an art system which had always managed to offer a pleasant rest area, an offshore platform where the world’s din breaks down into a rustle, controlled like conditioned air. Their references are urban. They are organized in flows which criss-cross streets, peripheral areas, and passages – hybrid, permeable zones in a state of constant flux, uninterrupted movement of transfer. The various urban zones thus appear to be the most appropriate and stimulating setting for such structures.

TRANSFERT  is the 10th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition to be held in Bienne. The first exhibition in this series – pioneering in its determination to show art in the public place – dates back to 1954, the last one to 1991. 39 artists (Europe, USA, Thailand) sneak into the city’s infrastructures and question art’s ability to work its way into our everyday lives. A poster programme (carte blanche to four international artists) will be on view simultaneously in the streets of the following cities : Basel, Berlin, Bern, Bienne, Dijon, Geneva, Hamburg, London, Neuchâtel and Paris.


TRANSFERT  focuses on the concepts of graft and injection, over and above the idea of addition and supplement. Thus the artists proposes a prevailing consideration of the city’s existing infrastructures (roofs, balustrades, street lamps, tarmac, shops, façades, posters, vehicles, ventilation ducts, newspapers, TV, etc) with the keen desire to push the logical systems behind each infrastructure to their uttermost, not to say absurd, limits. Some artists, to give an example, propose a fire scheduled to happen three times a day, a sneezing dustbin, choreographies performed by bikers, hints for making products vanish, and hints for camouflage in one’s own home, an Angst tree, a security zone for the Conference Centre, a dam for the Suze canal, ventilation ducts for a motorway tunnel, a robot for tossing bread to birds, giant aquaria, a space for the future, an unbearable Jazz Band playing the loveliest music in the world, pills for turning blond, Protestant or artist... Present-day art is no longer set facing the world the better to study and describe it. It sneaks inside the world, plying the host of networks being woven by our reality day in day out. It operates more within a logic of movement and speed than in a logic of representation. By distorting the rules of visibility, today’s artists are formulating an actual aesthetics of stealth.


Paying particular attention to the exhibition concept, TRANSFERT delimits a zone lying between three major geographical points, and, through a dynamic system of linkages, encourages a dialogue between the works and consequently between the works and their context of inclusion. The work is no longer on its own vis-à-vis the city. Visitors no longer scour the streets in search of the works. They find themselves at the hub of a zone scanned by space-time phenomena that are forever changing. A visit to an exhibition is not approached the same way as a walk in the city. A fluctuation is inevitably created between the state of mind suited to the discovery of an exhibition and the state of mind that we experience on a daily basis when we walk around a city. This constant fluctuation is essential here. Above all else, it represents a vehicle of energy. While artistic practices are handled through their user value, it is crucial to introduce them into the very place of exchange and energy represented by the city.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS In spite of budgetary restraints, the Town of Bienne and the Canton of Bern had always believed it possible to set up the 10th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition. Their contributions had been a determining factor, as well as the invaluable support of Pro Helvetia, W. Gassmann AG, the Federal Office of Culture, the Stanley T. Johnson Foundation, the AFAA, the Migros Kulturprozent, the French Embassy in Switzerland, the British Council and the CTS. We would also like to thank the cities coproducing the poster programme: Basel (Ressort Kultur), Bern (Kultur Stadt), Dijon (FRAC Bourgogne), Geneva (Fonds cantonal de décoration), London (Window 42) and Neuchâtel (Affaires culturelles). And many thanks to the companies and individuals whose donations and collaboration made this exhibition possible.

  • Palissades, Gygi Fabrice, expo 2000
  • Prairie I, Garfield Peter, expo 2000
    Prairie I
  • Project for Cream Coffee Lids, Deller Jeremy, expo 2000
    Project for Cream Coffee Lids
  • For His Own Good, Lane Abigail, expo 2000
    For His Own Good
  • Business as Usual, Robert-Tissot Christian, expo 2000
    Business as Usual
  • Der aufblasbare Dinosaurier/Le dinosaure gonflable, Merrick Thom, expo 2000
    Der aufblasbare Dinosaurier/Le dinosaure gonflable
  • Angst Tree, Jakobsen Henrik Plenge, expo 2000
    Angst Tree
  • Jardinage, Bossut Etienne, expo 2000
  • Barrage, Signer Roman, expo 2000
  • Be Monogamous Naturally, Wyse Dana, expo 2000
    Be Monogamous Naturally
  • La magie au service de la vie quotidienne – Mode d’emploi, Fleury Jean-Damien, expo 2000
    La magie au service de la vie quotidienne – Mode d’emploi
  • Espace pour le futur, Ramette Philippe, expo 2000
    Espace pour le futur
  • Ornament und Gebrechen, Gruber Ulrike, expo 2000
    Ornament und Gebrechen
  • Zu verkaufen/A vendre, Büchel Christoph, expo 2000
    Zu verkaufen/A vendre
  • Beatballs and Flukes, Györfi Alexander, expo 2000
    Beatballs and Flukes
  • Hello I don’t speak your language, Land Peter, expo 2000
    Hello I don’t speak your language
  • Biel Swimming Pool – Free admission for foreigners, Haaning Jens, expo 2000
    Biel Swimming Pool – Free admission for foreigners
  • Multiprise suisse, Mercier Mathieu, expo 2000
    Multiprise suisse
  • Do it Yourself, Firman Daniel, expo 2000
    Do it Yourself
  • Childish Behaviour # 3, L/B, Lang Sabina + Baumann Daniel, expo 2000
    Childish Behaviour # 3
  • Free for all Project, Kusolwong Surasi, expo 2000
    Free for all Project
  • Biel-Bienne Seaworld, Decker Simone, expo 2000
    Biel-Bienne Seaworld
  • Crash, Motti Gianni, expo 2000
  • Trance, Tzaig Uri, expo 2000
  • Transit, Spalinger Nika, expo 2000
  • Canard à l’orange, Relax (Chiarenza/Hauser/Croptier), expo 2000
    Canard à l’orange
  • L’art de se camoufler chez soi, Auguste-Dormeuil Renaud, expo 2000
    L’art de se camoufler chez soi
  • Jet d’Oh!, Hattan Eric, expo 2000
    Jet d’Oh!
  • p-boy, Breuning Olaf, expo 2000
  • CNN, Pflumm Daniel, expo 2000
  • Untitled (A Paul Cézanne), Mosset Olivier, expo 2000
    Untitled (A Paul Cézanne)
  • What a Wonderful World, Monk Jonathan, expo 2000
    What a Wonderful World
  • Glass Swing, Banz Stefan, expo 2000
    Glass Swing
  • Notes sur le mobilier urbain, Corillon Patrick, expo 2000
    Notes sur le mobilier urbain
  • One Minute Sculpture, Wurm Erwin, expo 2000
    One Minute Sculpture
  • La Maison (le 26A), Blanckart Olivier, expo 2000
    La Maison (le 26A)
  • Séparateur de bac à sable, Ruggiero Daniel, expo 2000
    Séparateur de bac à sable
  • Burnout, Hersberger Lori, expo 2000
  • Peloton, Buchanan Roderick, expo 2000