"Do you remember the house you grew up in?" "What room do you feel comfortable in?" "How do you do it exactly?" Swiss architect Peter Zumthor conducted 17 in-depth conversations that immerse us in the minds and working practices of fascinating personalities. A large part of the conversations took place in the context of the exhibition "Dear to Me," which Zumthor conceived in the summer of 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Kunsthaus Bregenz he built. He invited philosophers, curators, historians, composers, authors, photographers, but also a collector and a carpenter to contribute personally to the exhibition. This very special publication with 18 booklets in a decorative slipcase brings together the serious and at the same time cheerful conversations.
In it, Peter Zumthor and his counterparts explore their own and other artistic preferences and practices, thought processes as well as experiential knowledge of craftsmanship. Always charming and affectionate, he follows up persistently, and with gentle determination takes his guests on mutual intellectual strolls.
Dear to me
Peter Zumthor in Conversation with
Marcel Beyer, Martin Seel, Anita Albus, Rudolf Walli, Walter Lietha, Renate Breuss, Olga Neuwirth, Wim Wenders, Bice Curiger, Hélène Binet, Rebecca Saunders, Ralf Konersmann, Esther Kinsky, Hannes Böhringer, Claudia Comte, Karl Schlögel, Aleida Assmann
18 booklets in slipcase
444 pages, 9 color illustrations
12.5 x 21cm
«Culture is thinking about the world, looking closely, asking questions, listening, comprehending.»
Peter Zumthor in Conversation with ...
Marcel Beyer b. 1965, Tailfingen, Baden-Württemberg. Poet, short-story writer, essayist, and editor, who after studying German and English at the University of Siegen wrote his master’s thesis on the Austrian poet Friederike Mayröcker. Worked as editor of the literary journal Konzepte and wrote for the music magazine Spex.
Martin Seel b. 1954, Ludwigshafen. Studied German, philosophy, and history at the Philipps University of Marburg and the University of Constance. Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hamburg from 1992 to 1995, the Justus Liebig University of Giessen from 1995 to 2004, and at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt from 2004 to 2020. His main areas of research are language theory and epistemology, the ethics of a good life, the aesthetics of nature, and theory of art.
Anita Albus b. 1942, Munich. Studied graphic art at the Folkwang School of Design in Essen. Began her artistic career as an author of children’s books. As an illustrator worked with paints that she made from natural pigments to create deceptively naturalistic scenes that were widely exhibited. Besides painting, Albus devotes much of her time to writing and is the author of a novel and short stories as well as award-winning essays.
Rudolf Walli b. 1958, Chur. Apprenticeship as a carpenter. With his sister and brother runs ruwa Holzbau in Küblis, a family business now in its third generation that specializes in high-end products made of choice wood from the mountains of Graubünden and in traditional timber construction. He is especially interested in how traditional craftsmanship, structural possibilities, and innovative ideas interact.
Walter Lietha b. 1950, Chur. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, composer, and arranger whose own dialect songs are influenced by an eclectic array of styles from American folk to flamenco. As the lead man in the Bode-Band and the Lietha-Lässer Band, and a driving force on the Swiss music scene, he has worked together with Corin Curschellas, Joel Reiff, Sal Celli and Pedro Haldemann. In 2015 he wrote what he calls a “curious opera,” Chur, du Alti, based on his own biography.
Renate Breuss b. 1956, Hohenems, Vorarlberg. Studied art history at the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck, where in 1996 she was awarded a doctorate for her dissertation on historical weights and measures in cooking. Lecturer in culture, design, and perception for the Intermedia program at Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences since 1999. As an author she has published books and essays on building culture, arts and crafts, and the theory of cooking.
Olga Neuwirth b. 1968, Graz. Studied painting and film at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and at art college, then composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna and under Tristan Murail at the ircam in Paris. Her works combine an interest in science, architecture, literature, film, and the fine arts with electronics and video to create visual and acoustic sensory experiences that transcend any specific generic definition. Now a composer of international renown, Neuwirth has created a range of sound installations.
Wim Wenders b. 1945, Düsseldorf. After trying first medicine and then philosophy went to Paris to become a painter. In 1967 enrolled at the new Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen (hff) in Munich. In 1971 co-founded the distributor Filmverlag der Autoren together with fifteen other directors. As a fledgling director soon won international acclaim as a pioneer of the Neue Deutsche Film. Besides directing numerous award-winning feature films he is also a producer, prolific screenplay writer, and innovative documentary filmmaker.
Bice Curiger b. 1948, Zurich. Studied art history, anthropology, and literary criticism at the University of Zurich. Art critic for the daily Tages-Anzeiger. In 1984 co-founded the art magazine Parkett, remaining its editor-in-chief until 2017. Editor of the museum journal Tate etc. from 2004 to 2015. As a curator at Kunsthaus Zurich from 1992 to 2013 created numerous exhibitions, many of which were shown at major museums abroad. Since mid-2013 artistic director of the Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles.
Hélène Binet b. 1959, Sorengo, Canton Ticino. Studied photography at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome. Two years as a photographer at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, after which she turned to architecture, collaborating on book projects with numerous architects and artists of international renown, including Caruso St John, Zaha Hadid, Dimitris Pikionis, John Hejduk, Gottfried Böhm, Le Corbusier, Sergio Musmeci, Daniel Libeskind, and Edmund de Waal.
Rebecca Saunders b. 1967, London. Studied violin and composition at the University of Edinburgh and composition at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. Saunders is one of the leading international composers of her generation. The focus of her work is on the threedimensional, spatial qualities of organized sounds, and on collaborative work in dialogue with various musicians and artists. Her music is played by ensembles, soloists, and orchestras of renown.
Ralf Konersmann b. 1955, Düsseldorf. Studied philosophy and German at the University of Münster. He was appointed Professor of Art Theory and the Philosophy of Culture at the University of Leipzig in 1993, then moved to the Christian Albrecht University of Kiel as Professor, and from 2000 Philosophy Department Chair. His principal fields of research are philosophical forms of expression; history; systems of cultural philosophy; and phenomena and conceptual figures of unrest, moderation, and immoderation.
Esther Kinsky b. 1956, Engelskirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Award-winning author of prose and poetry whose key theme is perception through language and the processes of remembering connected with it. Having studied Slavic languages and literature and English in Bonn and Toronto she is also a prolific literary translator from Polish, Russian, and English into German.
Hannes Böhringer b. 1948, Hilden, North Rhine-Westphalia. Studied philosophy and history, art history and sociology. Becoming Professor of Philosophy at the Free University of Berlin in 1986. He taught in the Faculty of Art at the Gesamthochschule Kassel from 1989 and at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig from 1995 to 2012. Böhringer’s main field of interest is modern and contemporary art and architecture, which by reflecting on words, actions, and objects he combines into a phenomenology of everyday life.
Claudia Comte b. 1983, Grancy, Canton de Vaud. Art degree at the École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ecal) followed by a Masters of Art in Science of Education at the Haute École Pédagogique in Lausanne. Craftsmanship is central to Comte’s creativity. She works predominantly with wood and its “capacity for memory” as well as producing graphic patterns in site-specific, environmental installations. She has long been exhibiting widely, both in Switzerland and abroad.
Karl Schlögel b. 1948, Hawangen, Bavaria. Studied philosophy, sociology, East European history and Slavic languages. Professor of Eastern European History at the University of Constance from 1990 to 1994 and at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt an der Oder from 1995 to 2013, where his principal fields of research were Russian modernism and Stalinism, the Russian diaspora and dissidents’ movement, the cultural history of East European cities, and theoretical problems of historical narration.
Aleida Assmann b. 1947, Bethel near Bielefeld. Studied English and Egyptology at the Universities of Heidelberg and Tübingen. From 1993 to 2014 Professor of English and Literary Studies at the University of Constance. Assmann has published extensively on English literature and on the archaeology of literary communication. Most of her research in recent decades has been in the field of cultural anthropology with a focus on cultural and collective memory, remembering and forgetting.
On the Edge of the Retina
Peter Zumthor in Conversation with Hélène Binet
A painter nowadays would probably not represent things. As an artist he would probably do something else. But what about you as a photographer? Surely there’s always at least some representing involved in what you do, some sort of talking about the subject. So here’s another question for you: What is photography’s subjectmatter?
Well, we work with the world. We’re not making something new — a sculpture, say — where before there was nothing. We work with the world. So the world is our palette — and light. Light is very important.
And dark. But you cannot have light without dark. It’s like silence in music. You have to have silence in order to structure a piece of music. It’s the same for us with light.
About Peter Zumthor
Peter Zumthor works with his Atelier of around thirty people in the alpine setting of Haldenstein, Switzerland, producing architectural originals like Kunsthaus Bregenz, Therme Vals, Museum Kolumba Köln, the Steilneset Memorial in Vardø, and currently the new building for the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA). (Picture: Brigitte Lacombe)
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