Jürg Lehni,
Alex Rich
«Things to say»

14th February – 12th April 2009


Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich, exhibition view, Viktor, 2008/2009, Wood Work, 2009, News, 2008/2009

Photo: Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Anna-Tina Eberhard


Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich, Hektor, 2002

Photo: Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Anna-Tina Eberhard


Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich, Viktor 2008/2009

Photo: Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Jürg Lehni


Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich, Empty Words, 2008/2009

Photo: Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Anna-Tina Eberhard

Alongside the exhibition by Mariana Castillo Deball, the Kunst Halle will also be showing “Things to say”, a large presentation by the artistic collaboration, Jürg Lehni and Alex Rich, that deals playfully with the development of printing technologies, as well as with the interface between machines and users, and the communication of information. They broach the issues of the unexplored potential of everyday technologies and their ability to perform functions that had not been envisioned either by the designers or the engineers. The exhibition is a furtherance of the project “A Recent History of Writing”, which was realised in 2008 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Its purpose was to turn assumptions that one kind of communication is more authentic, direct or valid than another upside down and to find meaning and poetry in unexpected places.


In the Kunst Halle, Lehni and Rich display some of their drawing, spraying and punching machines, which serve as means of communication and design tools both for the artists and for the visitors. There is, for example Hektor (developed in 2002 by Lehni in collaboration with engineer Uli Franke), a graffiti robot which - impelled by two motors - imitates the artist's hand in a rather shaky way. Lehni and Rich also invite the audience to become active participants and get creative. Visitors are encouraged to print current headlines on postcards and send them out to the world. In Empty Words, a plotter punches words selected by the visitors into paper. One is invited to find the balance between auto-manifestation and technological constraints. The postcards and posters created may be taken home. With Wood Work we will have a small, special printing press; a special moulding cutter stamps words from a wooden board that is subsequently used as pressure plate. The posters can be hung up right away. Finally, Viktor draws directly on the wall of the exhibition room with chalk, thus rounding up the project in a spectacular manner.


Viktor and his siblings are not just machines; they are also statements about the contemporary desktop publishing design chain whose standards and software exert great influence over the aesthetics of our everyday life. The devices can also be read as an appeal to not simply accept the constraints and the given functional procedures of today’s software, but to revise one’s own tools and invent new ones.


Martino Gamper, considered one of the emerging designers of the international scene, is creating the furniture for “Things to say”.



«Things to Say» is enabled by Swatch. 

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