17th August – 27th October 2013
Opening: Fri, 16 August 2013, 6 p.m.
Guided Tours: Tues, 20 August 2013, 6.30 p.m., Sun, 22 September, 3 p.m.
Art Lunch: Thurs, 10 October 2013, 12 noon
David Renggli – in some respects a prodigy of the Swiss art scene – has repeatedly aroused the curiosity of the public for more than ten years thanks to a unique mixture of themes and forms, of spectacle, humour and poetry. An unexpected combination of various everyday materials and motifs characterises the artist’s heterogeneous repertoire consisting of sculptural objects, installations, photographs and reverse glass paintings. He frequently creates what appears familiar but which on closer examination reveals itself as surreal, absurd and grotesque. The moment of surprise is thus again and again the main aesthetic principle in David Renggli’s work.
The Swiss artist is on the one hand interested in details to mark out what is special and enable a deeper insight but he is not afraid of grand gestures such as recently seen at the exhibition «The Charm of Ignorance» at Museum Bellpark Kriens (2012): Renggli filled all the museum walls with more than 2,000 collaged pictures in Petersburg hanging. His constant experimentation with classical museum displays as well as with art genres and motifs is a repeated theme in his work.
At David Renggli’s solo exhibition at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen large format reverse glass paintings are evidence of this concern. The show also concentrates on another core topic in his work: communication in its various facets. He pays special attention to the power of illusion which emerges from the tension between form and content. The title of the exhibition «Scaramouche» points towards this. The reference to the figure from the Italian commedia dell’arte is less important here than the sound of the word itself, which first appears to roll off the tongue and then to melt away on it.
Whereas the acoustic quality of a word is at the centre in the title, the eight neon sculptures presented at the exhibition address the subject of (il)legibility on a semiotic level and that of content: even if the words made apparent in the individual sculptures are not legible at first glance, they are nevertheless terms which allow no ambiguity such as SAEBEL (sabre) and LIBIDO. At the same time they are words that are almost stripped of all meaning, for instance by their frequent or casual use (e.g. SORRY and IRGEND (kind of)).
The theme of (not) understanding also finds its way into the exhibition in the form of music instruments. A man-size wooden flute functions as the prelude. It is not only impossible to play because of its dimensions but also because of its displaced holes. David Renggli so to speak composes the final chord with a sound installation made up of two robot flutes which play the well- known song Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin as a duet.
Sensuality and physicality are also to be found in other works in the exhibition. Benches adorned with stones – even if only at second glance – are an invitation to sit down; distant laughter attracts and induces us to bend down to its source. And again David Renggli is successful in stimulating the attention of the beholder. He cleverly brings us to distrust the banality of our first thought and invites us to look again more closely.
David Renggli (*1974, Zurich) visited the School of Applied Arts in Zurich and the Gerrit Rietveldt Academie in Amsterdam; today he lives and works in Zurich. Solo exhibitions took place at the following institutions and galleries (amongst others): Wentrup, Berlin; Museum im Bellpark, Kriens, CH; Chez Valentin, Paris (2012); Associazione Barriere, Turin, IT; Kunstraum Baden, CH (2009); Ausstellungsraum 25, Zurich; Alexandre Pollazzon Ltd, London; Stiftung Binz39, Zurich; Via Farini, Milan (2007); Kunsthalle Winterthur, CH; Van Zoetendaal Collections, Amsterdam; Flaca, London; L'atelier, Geneva (2006). Further, he participated in various group exhibitions (amongst others): Kunsthaus Zürich; LDAC, Paris (2012); Bex & Arts, Bex, CH; Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris; Transcultures, Mons, BE (2011); Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich; Espace LAB, Brussels; Nicoletta Rusconi, Milan (2010); IAC, Villeurbanne, FR; Salon 94, New York; Kunsthalle Bern; Fri-Art, Kunsthalle Freiburg, CH; Städtische Galerie Ravensburg, D; KIT Düsseldorf, D; Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau, CH; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, D (2009); Tate Britain, London; Jack Shainman, New York; Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris; Helmhaus, Zurich; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2008); Swiss Institute, New York; Centre culturel suisse, Paris (2006); Museum Bellerive, Zurich; Fotomuseum Winterthur, CH (2005). After a pause of several years he recently brought out another album with his performance band Waldorf.