Art in the Engadine: tucked away in a rugged corner of eastern Switzerland, the Engadine valley has inspired generations of artists. Now it is also the backdrop for a weeklong art and culture summit, giving artists and art enthusiasts even more reason to visit this spectacular region.
I Art has long been an integral part of the Engadine, its gentle pastures and mountain panoramas immortalised in paintings by local artists Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1935) and Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899). Countless modern artists have been drawn to the region by the clarity of its light and its rugged beauty, not to mention the up-market panache of St. Moritz. More recently, trendy galleries and art-filled boutique hotels have begun springing up in such out-of-the-way places as Sent, Vna and S-chanf, as well as chic St. Moritz, and the area has become a popular summer retreat for art-world luminaries.
A broad palette
The logical development of all this was the 2008 launch of the St. Moritz Art Masters (SAM)--what the organisers call "a 10-day international art and culture summit". It is was the idea of the German art dealer/promoter, Reiner Opoku, who received strong local and commercial support for the event. This year, Art Masters begins on August 27 and concludes on September 5.
The programme centrepiece is SAMposion 2010, a series of discussions on the subject, Art or Cult?, examining the intersection of art with other cultural forms. There will also be photography workshops, concerts, special exhibitions at galleries in the region--as well as a charity dinner to benefit the Ship of Tolerance project, which was launched by Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabahov to foster tolerance among children around the world.
Not just galleries
One of the highlights is the Walk of Art, stretching from Maloja in the south to S-chanf in the north, which will enable visitors to experience contemporary art by prominent international artists in both natural and manmade surroundings.
The renowned Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis will fill the cavernous Paracelsus building in St. Moritz with an installation composed of military hospital beds and accompanying paraphernalia, mounted in cooperation with the Karsten Greve gallery. Wasserspiel (Water Game), a new installation by the Swiss artist Roman Signier, will be on view on the grounds of the Hotel Castell. The hotel is located above Zuoz and is owned by Rudi Bechler, a major Zurich collector.
Works from the Bank Julius Baer art collection will displayed in the bank's St. Moritz branch; seven videos from the Daimler Collection will housed in a specially constructed "light box" in the post office carpark in St. Moritz; Galerie Gmurzynska will be showing a solo presentation of collages by Louise Nevelson; and Old Bridge, a poetic steel construction by conceptual artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, will be suspended over the Inn River between Silvaplana and St. Moritz. In addition, selected works by internationally acclaimed local artist Not Vital--from three major Engadine collections--will be installed at the Chesa Merleda, as well as inside and outside the Gasthaus Krone in La Punt-Chamues-ch.
It seems now is as good a time as any to discover one of Switzerland's most richly art-endowed regions.
St. Moritz Art Masters
The "Walk of Art" is open between 10:00 and 18:00 throughout the event.
More information about the St. Moritz Art Masters, as well as a timetable of all events, can be found on their website: