A seventy-year old man is living in Switzerland – in the midst of a huge forest of chestnut trees. His initials are A. S. He hides from visitors. He has not spoken with anyone for years. Since 1951 he has been working on assembling pieces of information, writing them on panels, then attaching them to the trees of his woods, arranged in an encyclopedic order.

 

 

One will thus find sections with texts about physics, literature, medicine, astrology, film, and theater, chemistry, cooking, and architecture. The texts are mounted on metal plates with knitting needles and oil paint. The plates are shaped either rectangular, round, or oval. Their shape is determined by the way they are being cut from the tin cans. Works which were done during the past two years are written by typewriter on paper or with pencil on cardboard. They are already beginning to disintegrate. The pieces of information are constantly being rearranged and brought up-to-date. The older metal plates are getting rusty! There are thousands that are hanging there, and are legible. Repeatedly one finds plates calling upon people for contact and information about certain scientific aspects. A.S. also poses problems which may be worked upon or which can be researched in his own books. A.S. has on display his telephone number and the hours when he may be reached. The number is a false number. If one dials one hears a receiver being taken off and an interference sound – that’s all. Beneath the bell at his house one reads: „Out of order. Interruption“.
 

 

A. S. has never thought of himself as an artist. He doesn’t that there may be movements in art which might resemble the things he does. He says that he knows that people think of him as crazy and that they are laughing about him. He does not seem to mind. He used to be a bank employee, then he ran three fashion boutiques all at one time, and finally he held a post in the ministry of the Swiss capital, Berne – all until twenty years ago when he began changing his large woods.

 

 

It’s a steep slope. There are no paths. He falls. His head is bleading often. His body is protected by rags, held together by strings and safety-pins. He once said: „A while ago I used to have three bath tubs, two boilers, two ice boxes … but one needs none of these things, nothing … not even a W. C. At another time he said: „You do your reading differently from the way I read. When you read you do it to stimulate your emotion or mind. But when I read something I read for the sake of finding order.“

 

 

Ingeborg Lüscher 1972

CR279.2

Installation views:

Kunsthaus Zürich 1992 (above)

Centre Dürrenmatt, Neuchâtel 2014 (below)

Installation views:

Kunsthalle Bern 2018 (above)

Casa Anatta, Ascona 1981 (below)

IL279.001 – IL279.169

 

Documentation about A. S., 1972

Dokumentation über A. S., 1972

 

Series of 169 b/w photographs, taken in the forest of Armand Schulthess, Onsernone valley (Ticino), different dimensions

 

The numbering of the photographs follows their reproduction in the artist book „Dokumentation über A.S.“

The numbers of the here reproduced photopgraphs are

            IL279.002

IL279.005     IL279.049

IL279.030     IL279.057

IL279.054     IL279.089

IL279.001     IL279.107

IL279.031     IL279.067

 

Since 1972, various selections of the series have been reproduced in different dimensions and have been on view in numerous exhibitions.

For documenta 5 in Kassel 1972, for group exhibitions in Berlin and Leverkusen,, for solo exhibitions in Wiesbaden, Aarau, The Hague, Chemnitz, Rovereto and Solothurn and for the travelling exhibition „Harald Szeemann. Museum of obsessions“, Ingeborg Lüscher realized different room installations about A.S., which are separately documented. See installations no 279.1, 279.2, 279.3, 279.4 and 279.5.

 

Additionally, in 1978, 1981, 1983, 1992 and 2004 selections of the photo series were displayed by Harald Szeemann as part of his Armand Schulthess installations in the exhibitions „Le mammelle della verità. Die Brüste der Wahrheit“, „Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk“, „Suiza Visionaria. Visionäre Schweiz“ and „The Beauty of Failure. The Failure of Beauty“. Since 1981, a selection of 16 photographs is part of the permanent exhibition „Monte Verità“at Casa Anatta, Ascona (reopened 2017 after four years of restauration).

 

Between 2013 and 2016, other selections of the series have been displayed in the exhibitions „Armand Schulthess. Il giardino della conoscenza“ in Sospiro „Le labyrinthe poétique de Armand Schulthess“ in Neuchâtel and „Armand Schulthess domaine no 1“ in Lugano.

 

In 2018 and 2019, Ingeborg Lüscher was invited to install  the Armand Schulthess installations of the exhibition „Harald Szeemann. Museum of Obsessions“ at Getty Research Institute Los Angeles (travelling to Kunsthalle Bern, Kunstverein Düsseldorf and Castello di Rivoli Torino).

 

The Artist book „Der größte

Vogel kann nicht fliegen. Ingeborg Lüscher, Dokumentation über A. S.“ was published 1972 and exhibited

in Malmö in 1978.

 

Exhibitions

Neue Galerie (documenta 5), Kassel 1972

Akademie der Künste, Berlin 1972 (Erholungshaus der Bayer AG Leverkusen 1972)

Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer, Berlin 1977

Konsthall Malmö 1978

Isola di Brissago/Ascona 1978 (Kunsthaus Zürich 1978-1979. Akademie der Künste, Berlin 1979. Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wien 1979)

Museo Casa Anatta, Ascona 1981

Kunsthaus Zürich 1983 (Kunstmuseum Wien 1983. Kunstverein Düsseldorf 1983. Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin 1984)

Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid 1992 (Kunsthaus Zürich 1992. Kunstverein Düsseldorf 1992)

Museum Wiesbaden 1993

Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau 1996

Museo Onsernone, Locarno 1997

Stroom Center for the Visual Arts, Den Haag 2000

Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz 2001-2002

MART Rovereto 2004

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona 2004

MAI Museo Arte Irregolare, Sospiro 2013

Centre Dürrenmatt, Neuchâtel 2014

Museo d’Arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano 2016

Kunstmuseum Solothurn 2016

Museo Casa Anatta, Ascona 2017

Getty Research Institute Los Angeles 2018 (Kunstmuseum Bern 2018. Kunsthalle  Düsseldorf 2018. Castello di Rivoli, Torino 2019)

 

Catalogues

Kassel 1972 (ill, unpaged). Berlin 1972, pp 195-201 (ill). Berlin 1977, p 35 (ill). Malmö 1978, pp 166-167 (ill). Ascona 1978, pp 166-167 (ill). Zürich 1983, pp 405-408 (ill). Zürich 1992, p 215. Wiesbaden 1993, pp 17-21 (ill), p 94. Aarau 1996, pp 20-21 (ill). Den Haag 2000 (ill). Chemnitz 2002, pp 34-37 (ill). Rovereto 2004, pp 42-47 (ill). Barcelona 2004. Zürich/New York 2007, pp 410 (ill), 411 (ill). Sospiro 2013 (ill). Neuchâtel 2014 (ill). Lugano 2016 (ill). Solothurn 2016, pp 38-45 (ill). Los Angeles 2018, pp 178 (ill), 236 (ill), 237 (ill). Bern/Düsseldorf 2018, pp 178 (ill), 236 (ill), 237 (ill). Rivoli-Torino 2019, pp 40-66 (ill). Hadersdorf am Kamp 2021, pp 4-5 und 12-14 (ill).

 

Texts

Curiger 1972, p 21 (ill). Hartung 1972. Michaelis 1972. Ohff 1972 (ill). Schauer 1972. Schaumann 1972. Schmid 1972, p 29 (ill). Schmidt 1972, p III. Widmer 1972. Marchese 1973. Weder 1973. Höllerer 1974, pp 31-38. Altmann 1978, p 156.  Kneubühler 1978, p 72 (ill). Kneubühler 1979, p 69. Rattemeyer 1993, p 36. Lüscher/Resseler 1996, pp 106-109. Herzog 1999, pp 20-21 (ill). Tienhoven 2000 (ill). Graevenitz 2001, p 12, p 16. Herzog 2002, p 20, p 24. Schlaegel 2010, pp 50-53 (ill). Müller 2016, p 156, p 163. Vögele 2016, p 16, p 30. Staufer 2017, p 13. Tessiner Zeitung Extra, Herbst 2017, p 27 (ill). Ebenbeck 2018, pp 16-17 (ill). Christov-Bakargiev 2018, pp 201-217 (ill). Christov-Bakargiev 2019, pp 40-66 (ill)

 

Note

See Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 17 October 1997 about the tour of the play „Meine erste Frau hieß Zwieback“ in Hamburg and Zürich.