|MAMCO / Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva|
Geneva itself is a funny place. It's an international city, with more than half of the population being non-Swiss. Around the lake is beautiful, but the city itself is bitty, and seemingly in a state of permanent roadwork-induced chaos at present. The architecture, too, is all over the place, with elegant French style apartment blocks sitting cheek by jowl with mirror glass office towerblocks and East Germany-lite concrete housing estates. For all its international character, it seems like a pretty quiet and sleepy place, too.
However, there are some good art spaces here. The MAMCO centre, four floors of an old industrial building, has a very impressive permanent collection, continually rotated, and generous space for local and international artists to mount serious exhibitions. When I visited on Friday, the top floor was given over to the witty and humorous sculpture and mobiles of Markus Raetz; a real illusionist in three dimensions who delights in fitting two images into one form, through manipulation of the material and judicious use of mirror images and trompe l'oeil. If Raetz's ambitious retrospective was a delight, then Cosima von Bonin's hallucinogenic floor full of sewn bunnies, nod and a wink references to 90s rave culture, toy rockets and nonsense poems was far less so; very much an attempt to combine "witty" popular cultural knowledge, alongside a frenetic chase after the ambulance of controversy, with generally underwhelming results.
More interesting, on the ground floor, was the neon sculptures and installations of the young Swiss artist Mai-Thu Perret, a scattergun showing of lyrical abstractions. There was also a decent broad exhibition of European contemporary artists from the last forty or so years, featuring the likes of Gordon Matta-Clark and Julije Knifer . The second floor also featured a very wide ranging and well sourced show of Europunk, from c. 1976-80, very familiar to the British visitor but interesting in its display of European echos of the punk "revolution". MAMCO also seems to be a community run space with local artists featuring prominently in the development and display of the programmes, overall it;s a very well put together space well worth the visit.
|Oscar Gauthier, Hommage a Laprade, 1962|
|Gerard Schneider Opus 24.B|
Tomorrow's an overnight stop in Salzburg, the prelude to six days in Vienna. The next update will be from the Austrian capital later this week.