The prestigious St. Moritz Art Masters Award 2013 was assigned to the brilliant dissident artist-designer Ai Weiwei, the “hidden” protagonist of the contemporary art festival created by Monty Shadow and curated by Reiner Opoku; the sixth edition is focused on China.
The evocative Iron Tree, Ai Weiwei’s site-specific work within the Reformierte Kirche in St. Moritz is certainly the main lap of the St. Moritz Art Masters’ artistic itinerary (August 23th- September 1st) that involves more than thirty locations in Engadine – hotels, galleries and unusual spaces from St. Moritz to Zuol, from Scuol to Sils Maria- including exhibitions, events, walk tours, workshops, symposiums, talks, and the Charity Night; during this event Ai Weiwei was awarded St. Moritz Art Masters Award 2013 (the gold prize was offered by Cartier, partner of the festival together with Mercedes-Benz).
The artwork by the eclectic artist-designer-architect Ai Weiwei (he designed the Serpentine Gallery in London and the National Stadium in Beijing “Bird’s Nest” together with the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron) is certainly one of the main attractions: the monumental sculpture consists of 99 pieces of dead trees from different species collected from different areas around southern China; the trunks are held toghether by oversized screws and nuts.
Nevertheless St. Moritz Art Masters’ itinerary provides a wide overlook on the Chinese contemporary art scene. Starting from the entrance of Mercedes-Benz Art Lounge at Posthaus, official places of the festival, dominated by huge chinese characters for the cardinal points by Su-Mei Tse.
The past Swiss ambassador in China Uli Sigg (one of the biggest collectors of contemporary Chinese art) curated an exhibition at Turnhalle; the five artists (Liu Wei, Xue Feng, Ni Youyu, Li Zhenwei, Li Xi) have one thing in common: the painstacking painting process.
The Palace Galerie exhibitions expose the peaceful animals by Shao Fan and the huge woodcuts by Fang Lijun, the baldhead figures which have become his trademark.
The Kempinski Hotel photography exhibitions, edited by Amedeo M. Turello, displays works by the Pulitzer winner Liu Heung Shing, who explores the journalistic development of photography in “after Mao” China: a new society that moves from collectivism towards individualism. While the exhibition “Emotional stories” displays evocative ways of capturing intimate moments by some of the greatest international photography Masters: Steve McCurry, Patrick Demarchelier, Bruno EHRs, Hans Georg Esch, Peter Lindbergh, Joel Meyerowitz, Paolo Solari Bozzi, Robert Wilson, Mimmo Jodice.
Moreover, there is another interesting Italian presence at Galleria Monica De Cardenas in Zuoz, a comprehensive exhibition focused on Claudia Losi artistic research addressed to relationship between human experience and nature: the symbiosis and the rhythms of metamorphosis in the animal and plant world represented through lichens and embroidery, photos, and new concrete sculptures of imaginary animals (open until September 30th).
In addition other artistic Art Masters 2013’ contributions reflect an international outlook: the huge bronze flowers by Donald Baechler at the Badrutt’s Palace entrance, or the chairs by Sébastien de Ganay, out of scale too, at Hotel Kulm. The itinerary continues among the highlights by Robert Wilson, Jan Fabre, Hubert Kiecol, Olaf Breuning, Enzo Cucchi and amazing facilities such as the polychrome shelter BlackBox by Kerim Seiler, an architectural installation and atelier for artists on the roof of the Hotel Criystal (this year it hosted the South African artist Gerald Machona and Li Li from China).
The Art Masters’ itinerary would ideally ends in the woods of Sils-Maria to enjoy the light installation by the Norwegian Rune Guneriussen: darkness is needed to fully appreciate it.
Text by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine
1 Ai Weiwei “Iron Tree” (2013) wood and iron, © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.
2 Liu Wei “Eastward” (2010) oil on canvas, © Liu Wei/ Sigg Collection, © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.
3 Xue Feng “Flashback” oil on canvas, © Liu Wei/ Sigg Collection, © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.
4 Su-Mei Tse “Dong, Xi, Nan, Bei” 2006, Neon Edition © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.
5 Liu Heung Shing “A Chinese youth skating past the giant statue of Mao”Dalian (1981) All rights Reserved. © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.
6 Steve McCurry “A young monk runs along the wall over his peers”. Shaolin Monastery, Hunan Province, China (2004) © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.
7 Claudia Losi “Biotope I” (2013) concrete. Courtesy Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milano/Zuoz © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.
8 Kerim Seiler “Black Box Project“ Crystal hotel, Relay (Situationist Space Program), 2013 © St. Moritz Art Masters 2013.