Immense; The St. Moritz Art Masters 2017

By Hannah Tan

While St.Moritz is more commonly known for it’s breathtaking snow-capped vistas and lush après-skis; every summer the St.Moritz Art Masters transforms this idyllic town into the centre of the art world.

In the last ten years, the festival has brought together some of the greatest creative forces of our generation; transcending the realms of art, architecture, sculpture, and photography. The latest edition of the St. Moritz Art Masters celebrated a decade of stunning art in the picturesque Alpine landscapes of the Engadine Valley, while also serving as a wonderful retrospective of the last nine years of the famed festival.

2Martin Kippenberger, Transportabler U-Bahn-Eingang, 1997, Copyright: Estate of Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne and Walter A. Bechtler Stiftung

“St.Moritz is a unique place — it’s no surprise to me that many artists have been intrigued by it. They continuously enrich the Engadine with their artworks as well as their technical influence.” – Monty Shadow, Founder of St. Moritz Art Masters

In the Protestant Church of St. Moritz, The Best of Sam highlighted the ingenious cross-genre program that has been a hallmark of the festival since its beginnings. Curated by Robilant + Vena St. Moritz, the exhibition featured ten stellar works from some of the art world’s most exciting talent. From David Lachapelle, whose unique blend of high-fashion and hyper-realism is ever present, to Vik Muniz, whose photographic work immersed him in the Jardim Camacho in Rio de Janeiro, creating industrial waste collages of mythical proportions. Robilant + Voena St. Moritz also presented an intimate show of drawings by the legendary David Hockney, in celebration of the release of his new Taschen published book – A Bigger Book. The title is a large scale monograph, with only 10,000 signed copies in existence. A fantastic compendium of Hockney’s body of work, with each page emblazoned with a spectrum of vivid colours. A Bigger Book is a wonderful illustrated chronology, comprising of more than 600 wonderful pages, that paint an appropriately colourful portrait of one of Britain’s most treasured artists.

3Alfred and Eka Bradler, Steinflut, 2017, Copyright: Alfred and Eka Bradler

Meanwhile, at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, Lenny Kravitz presented “Flash”. An exhibition of Kravitz’s photographic work; and a moving and intimate examination of the life of a modern day celebrity. Using only his father’s vintage Leicaflex, “Flash” turns the lens away from Kravitz himself and into the Paparazzi that have become a part of his daily life. Following the publication of Kravitz’s first photo book of the same title in 2015. Flash is art-directed by his longtime friend Matthieu Bitton, who also presents his own photographic work in the accompanying exhibition Ascension. From capturing the undeniable charisma of his friend’s onstage persona, to the quieter moments in between – Ascension is a wonderful reflection of the friendship between these two creative counterparts and long time friends.

10_Peter Lindbergh_Settimo Torinese_2016_copyright Peter LIndbergh_optPeter Lindbergh, Settimo Torinese, 2016, Copyright: Peter Lindbergh

Following last year’s unforgettable Albert Watson retrospective, the ’s takes us on an evocative journey into the world of the Pirelli Calendar. Presented in the Pirelli Lounge at the Kempinski hotel, Art from the Pirelli World – features 70 marvellous images from three different Pirelli Calendars, photographed by the iconic Peter Lindbergh; memorialising his third collaboration with Pirelli. The images not only reflect Peter Lindbergh’s signature aesthetic, but also underscore the unique spirit of the iconic calendar along with the forward thinking innovations that have driven Pirelli Design throughout the decades.

This year, some of the Installations have gone beyond the confines of the traditional gallery setting. Alfred and Eka Bradler’s large scale installation Steinflut literally transformed the alpine landscape in the gravel pits above Lake Sils. Miles and miles of visceral red fabric emphasise the constant yet diminutive movement of the stones underneath; a reflection on the symbiosis of mountain and man. James Turell’s “Pipilotti Rist” or Sky Spaces, installed in the Hotel Castell in Zuoz, uses architecture to create a transformative sensory experience — allowing for reality defying sensations of light and colour. Oliver Krus’ architectural work Interrelate explored concepts of geometry and scale, and transformed the banks of the lake of St. Moritz. Interrelate altered spatial awareness and explored the balance of indoor and outdoor spaces, and the relationship between what is visible and what remains unseen.

4Joseph Marr Vanitas, Cola, 2016, Copyright Joseph Marr, courtesy of Galerie Freitag

All this have marked not just another successful year for the St. Moritz Art Masters, but further emphasises the festival’s unique place in the art world, and also in the cultural history of St. Moritz. Since its inaugural edition, the St. Moritz Art Masters has always put creativity and innovation at the forefront of its stellar agendas. This latest edition takes a reflective nod to the strides that the festival has taken year after year and the artists who have made it one of the most genuinely exciting art-festivals in the world.

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