House of Lenin in Zurich, 1916/1917. Source: Wikipedia

Thousands of Swiss people were living in Russia when the revolution broke out in 1917. At the same time, Russian intellectuals, artists and socialists were also living in Switzerland, including Lenin, who was living in Geneva, Bern and Zurich. The Bolshevik revolution started actually in Switzerland, in Zurich to be more precise, from where Vladimir Iljitsj Oeljanov, better known as Lenin (1870-1924) left to St. Petersburg on 9 April 1917, to organize the violent Bolshevik take-over in October 1917. The exhibition tells the story of the ties linking the two countries at a time of upheaval and provides an overview of Russia’s political and cultural development during this period.  Arond 25 000 Swiss citizens lived in Russia these days. Fritz Platter and his wife were committed to the cause and even organized Lenins´trip from Zurich via other countries to Russia in april 1917. It didn´t help them, because both fell victim to the terror of Stalin. The exhibition was created in partnership with the German Historical Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin).


Hundred Years Revolution

Alexander Samochwalow, Textilfabrik, 1929. Staatliches Russisches Museum, St. Petersburg.

Zentrum Paul Klee and Kunstmuseum Bern dedicate their joint exhibition to the 100th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia.  The exhibition focuses both on the starting point of the Bolshevik revolution (not to confuse with the abdication of the Tsar and the new government in February 1917) and on the impact of the revolution on artistic representations. The exhibition at Zentrum Paul Klee focuses on the revolutionary spirit in visual epxressions of Russian Suprematism and Constructivism. They both had a radical impact on twentieth-century art when Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism, and the circle of Russian Constructivists led by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko, made their breakthrough to geometric abstraction and construction. Russian Suprematism and Constructivism are rightfully considered truly revolutionary art movements even today. The exhibition at Kunstmuseum Bern retraces Socialist Realism in contemporary art and its many shifts and changes since the Russian Revolution. In its representations of socialist themes, Propaganda Art not only embraced a realistic style, it also programmatically expressed a societal concept by promoting a society that did not exist then and never materialized afterwards. As the former Soviet Union reached crisis point and began to disintegrate, artists began to use new concepts.


A Celebration of Light and Colour

Claude Monet in 1899, by Nadar. Photo: Wikipedia

To mark the twentieth anniversary of the Fondation Beyeler and will be a celebration of light and colour, illustrating the artistic development of Claude Monet (1840-1926) from Impressionism to his late work. It will feature his Mediterranean landscapes, wild Atlantic coastal scenes, different stretches of the Seine, meadows with wild flowers, haystacks, water lilies, cathedrals, and bridges shrouded in fog. In his paintings, Monet experimented with changing light and color effects in the course of a day and in different seasons. He succeeded in evoking magical moods through reflections and shadows. The exhibition will bring together sixty-three masterpieces from private collections and renowned museums.