A Wonderland In The Swiss Alps: Muzeum Susch
Forget all the things you know about big metropole museums, grand-scale building projects and museum crowds. Opened its doors to the public on the 2nd of January, the Susch Museum is located in Engadin valley of Swiss Alps, in a 200-person village of Susch. Raising on the remains of a 12th- century monastic foundation, this extraordinary museum not only reflects its founder, Grażyna Kulczyk’s vision but also offers its visitors an experience of slow art which creates a perfect harmony with nature.
The Susch Museum raises on the grounds of a 12th century monastery, composed of a vicarage, hospice, and economic buildings, with a brewery added in the 19th century. Architects Chasper Scmidlin and Lukas Voelly have restored and organized these structures to house the new museum space. While carefully preserving the historical layout of the former brewery building, they integrated the elements of natural mountain rock both inside and outside the museum. The end result is a 1500 square meter exhibition space which houses a permanent collection, temporary exhibition and additional rooms for presentations, lectures and artist recidency.
The Polish entrepreneur, Artnews Top 200 collector and long-term supporter of contemporary art Grażyna Kulczyk is the founder of the Susch Museum. Kulczyk has always had a passion for art, collecting paintings mostly from female artists since the 1970s, during her college years. At the Susch museum, she aims to showcase “the artworks of women and all artists whose work – perhaps for political, social, or economic reasons – has not received appropriate recognition.” In this respect, the museum reflects its founder’s vision – it aims to contribute to the recognition of formerly neglected and marginalized artists. It also aims to support the research on gender issues. Related to this concern, the works by women artists, the conceptual art, and the Eastern European Art in general hold a prominence in this museum.
The 1.500 sqare-meter space of the Susch Museum features 11 artworks that from the permanent collection, site-specific installations and temporary displays. Among permanent display are sculptures and installations by Mirosław Bałka, Sara Masüger, Adrián Villar Rojas and Monika Sosnowska. These site-specific works on display are particularly notable with their unusual dialogue with the building’s distinctive layout such as Monika Sosnowska’s installation Stairs, which features a 14 m steel structure that is almost transformed in a spinal column of the ice tower of the former brewery.
The white-walled exhibition space with wooden floors and timber trusses hosts exciting temporary exhibitions. The inaugural exhibition of the Susch, organized between the 2nd of January- 30th of June 2019, articulates the primary concerns of the museum. A Women Looking at Men Looking at Women features works by 30 female artists including Joan Semmel, Carla Accardi, and Louise Bourgeois. This inaugural exhibition explores the notion of “femininity” and “womenhood” in various social, political and cultural contexts. Hence in addition to its breathtaking layout and permanent display, the temporary exhibitions of the museum also support underestimated and marginalized artists, and challenge the canonical and dominant voices in the art world.