Francis Alÿs, John Armleder, Valérie Favre

Three Statements in Painting

April 15 - May 28, 2011

Galerie Peter Kilchmann is pleased to present its new spacious facilities with three single exhibitions.

The new gallery space situates itself in the Diagonal building located on the Maag Areal, bordering on

Zurichs highest building to date, the Prime Tower. The Diagonal building was erected as a work site in

the 1940s with an architecture committed to the style of international modernism. The building, now

under protection, reopens its doors after comprehensive renovations in the last year. The gallery

space was renovated through Blättler Dafflon architects, Zurich.

With Francis Alÿs, John Armleder and Valérie Favre, Peter Kilchmann is pleased to present three

artists who all also work in the medium of painting, yet have very singular positions.

Francis Alÿs, *1959

Toujours essayé, Toujours raté. N'importe. Essayer encore. Rater encore, Rater mieux. (Samuel

Beckett, Cap au pire, 1983). On the occasion of last yearʼs solo exhibition at the Tate Modern and later

at WIELS, Brussels – the last station of this exhibition will open at MoMA on May 8th, 2011 – Alÿs' long

awaited piece Tornado (video, 55 min., 2000-2010) had its premiere. Every year since 2001, Francis

Alÿs has eagerly awaited the month of March, the high point of the dry season, to drive to the

shoutheast edge of Mexico City, where smoky clouds rise from cornfields burning after harvest, and

grey swirls of ash and sand loom against the horizon. Carrying his video camera, Alÿs runs towards

these tornadoes, hoping to catch them as a surfer catches a wave. Upon reaching one, he penetrates

its thick brown walls until he reaches the peaceful eye of the storm, intending to stay as long as

possible inside the swirl. (C. Medina, "Survey", Francis Alÿs, Phaidon, 2007). The artist used the long

wait for the next tornado to do several paintings on paper, canvas or wood, which will now be exhibited

for the first time. Francis Alÿs has been represented through the gallery since 1999.

John Armleder, *1948

John Armlederʼs multifaceted work can be compared to an associative game of art history, which until

today doesnʼt deny its proximity to the aesthetic of Dada and Fluxus. As Maurice Denis suggested in

1890, ʻremember that before a painting is a war-horse, a nude woman or some story or other, it is

essentially a flat surface covered in colors assembled in a certain order.' By way of updating this

statement, and to describe John Armlederʼs recent work, we should add that the forms do not

necessarily have to be arranged in a certain order, the colors are often 'just as good as they are in the

pot', and the story must not be scorned. The artist will design a space in the exhibit in which the walls

are covered with a carpet of hards, a certain ingrain wallpaper, on which five large-format Drip

paintings are then hung.

Valérie Favre, *1959

Valérie Favre emigrated to France when she was 18 years old. Paris became her home for two

decades. She painted, took acting classes and received schooling as a filmmaker. 1998 she headed to

Berlin and found her way back to painting. The work of the artist, who grew up in Evilard close to Biel,

Switzerland, is full of narratives and countless allusions. “I am a painting writer” Favre described

herself in an interview with Annka Karpowski (artnet, 24.02.11). Favre draws upon memories and

mostly paints in series. Until now, nine such cycles have been completed. The Lapines (rabbit women)

populate her canvases since 1999 and have a symbolic cosmos with the Lapines Univers. The alter

ego figures, in which Favre also paints herself as a hybrid female figure with long rabbit ears,

resemble comic figures, pin-up girls, as well as the triumphant woman stan ding on a pedestal on the

company logo of Columbia Pictures. The Lapine Univers thus becomes not only an ironic selfperception,

but also a kind of media-theoretic reflection. In the search for new motifs, Favre draws

upon newspapers, old myths and legends, as well as the repertoire of the cinema of the 1960s.