SPA History / 1975 /

6th Swiss Scultpure Exhibition, Biel, 1975
14. Juni bis 10. August (Medieval town, Lake shore, Station)

To Marcel Joray, with Thanks

Maurice Ziegler

Having initiated the Swiss Sculpture Exhibition (Schweizer Plastikausstellung) in 1954, and having organised a total of five shows, Marcel Joray relinquished his directorship following the exhibition of 1970. In honour of his willingness to take risks and of his great achievements on behalf of Swiss sculptors, I have felt it would be fitting to dedicate part of this year's exhibition, the sixth such show, to him.

We have managed to trace fifteen sculptures that were exhibited in 1954 in the Rittermatten school grounds and we have brought them to Biel to be displayed in one group. The selection of artists was strictly based on the statistical frequency whereby art critics referred to individual artists.

I think this small retrospective will outline the situation of sculpture in Switzerland twenty years ago, and will also remind many visitors of that first exhibition. The group of fifteen sculptures also illustrates the tendencies that were particularly popular with art critics at the time.

The 1954 exhibition reflected with great intensity the ongoing struggle between figurative and abstract art.

The 1st Swiss Open-Air Sculpture Exhibition (1. Schweizer Plastikausstellung im Freien) of 1954 in Biel was an absolute first for Switzerland. For far too long, sculptors in this country had been overshadowed by their fellow-artists, the painters – both with respect to public interest and to exhibition opportunities.

Since then, four more exhibitions have been held in Biel and the shows have inspired many artists to create works (often very large ones) especially for this exhibition. The wealth and variety of today's sculptural creations in Switzerland is deeply indebted to Marcel Joray's initiative and personality, to his dedication, and to his love of sculpture.

Maurice Ziegler

© Translation from German, July 2008: Margret Powell-Joss