Erika Verzutti features in “Salon Distingué – Household effects in good company”, a group show at the Museum Langmatt which also has artists Gerard Byrne, Natalie Czech, Elmgreen & Dragset, Diango Hernández, Markus Müller, Markus Schinwald, Kathrin Sonntag, Monika Sosnowska, Nele Stecher, Erick Steinbrecher, Lena Maria Thüring, Haegue Yang on display.
About the exhibition:
Household effects (furniture, carpets, curtains, decorative objects) are the items we use to decorate and design our living spaces; they bear material witness to our personal history. Inherited or purchased, household effects consist of objects that testify to both past and present. They may represent our family history and may also be things we consider useful, good or beautiful, mirroring how we see ourselves or wish to be seen by others. Ultimately, household effects are a means of constructing identity and defining social status.
Museum Langmatt is housed in a villa built by an industrialist in the early 20th century, which reflects the needs, values and tastes of a social class whose social standing and identity were closely allied with acquiring and living with works of art and precious cultural artefacts. In the exhibition “Salon Distingué — Household effects in good company”, the domestic character of Museum Langmatt has inspired inquiry into the way in which furnishings become art and art furnishings in an upper-class residence.
Ordinarily one might assume that a work of art is essentially an item to be displayed while household effects are defined by function. At Langmatt the distinction is blurred. Although the cultivated proprietors furnished their ideal home with the most exquisite antiques, they were nonetheless objects of daily use. Visitors may be able to sit down on some of the chairs in what is now a museum but there is no denying that the furnishings are no longer in use. They are carefully staged and exhibited, which lends them the status of a cultural artefact or even a work of art. In contrast, the paintings, now unmistakably viewed as works of art despite the domestic context, were not only an aesthetic and cultural indication of status, they were also a form of interior decoration.
During the exhibition, visitors will encounter contemporary works of art in the surroundings of an early 20th-century upper-class home. The works occupy the rooms playfully and subversively, interfering with the furnishings and changing our perception of a historical setting that is already complex in its own right. The sculptures, objects, installations and photographs created by artists from Switzerland and abroad inquire, for instance, into the ideological significance of certain forms of design, explore their art-historical and social status or interpret objects by using them as surfaces on which to project feelings and attitudes.
“Salon distingué — Household effects in good company” reinforces the impression conveyed on touring the villa. Langmatt is a place that invites the production of scenarios and stories; it is a stage — but without the actors to bring the setting to life. The exhibition strikingly demonstrates who the real protagonists are today, namely the household effects and the art — and they are hardly at a loss for stories to tell.
“Salon Distingué”, with Erika Verzutti
On view through 30th November
Tues-Fri: 2pm – 5pm
Weekends: 11am – 5pm
T: +41 (0)56 200 86 70