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NEWSLETTER 03.10.2014


For 75 years now, Pro Helvetia has had its finger on the pulse of Switzerland’s cultural various scenes. Over the years, one of the Swiss Arts Council’s tasks has become ever more important – enabling Swiss artists to be seen and heard abroad. Ugo Rondinone is a current example with his first solo exhibition in Shanghai. In Dresden, the Berlin dance company DorkyPark are presenting their latest piece to music composed by Oscar Bianchi from Ticino. The Geneva-based József Trefeli dance company is performing at the international Beirut Street Festival, and six Swiss sound artists are set to take the stage in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Read more here about Swiss cultural presence around the world!


Pro Helvetia Communications


Founded in 1939, Head Office Opened in 1940

Pro Helvetia is turning 75. On 20 October 1939, shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War and in view of the fascist threat from north and south, the Swiss Government set up Pro Helvetia as an organisation tasked with protecting the country’s independent cultural identity. The head office at Hirschengraben 22 in Zurich was opened in 1940. Nine years later, the organisation was converted into a public law foundation. Nowadays, Pro Helvetia helps maintain a vibrant and diverse cultural landscape in Switzerland, promotes artistic exchange among the country’s different linguistic regions and helps raise international awareness of Swiss culture. Further information at www.prohelvetia.ch

Swiss Literature for the World Market

In time for the Frankfurt Book Fair, the editors of «12 Swiss Books» have compiled this year’s literary highlights from Switzerland’s four linguistic regions. Pro Helvetia uses this compilation, which includes samples of English translations, to recommend Swiss books to international publishers for translation. The 2014 collection introduces the latest works of well-known writers such as Lukas Bärfuss, Gertrud Leutenegger, Andrea Gianinazzi and Philippe Rahmy, as well as works by first-time authors such as Heinz Helle. The brochure can be accessed at www.prohelvetia.ch

Aspiring Young Designers in Langenthal

Once every two years, on Designer’s Saturday, Langenthal becomes the Mecca of the architecture and design scene. This year, the exhibition includes two projects by talented young Swiss designers backed by Pro Helvetia through its support programme for aspiring artists. They will be presented on the top floor of the Mühlehof mansion on 1 November. One is an exchange project with Burkino Faso entitled «Hors Pistes», the other a furniture and object collection named «La maison selon CRG» by the eponymous designer collective. Further information at www.designerssaturday.ch


Dieter Roth - Universal Artist

Time is still at work on the famous decomposing chocolate and mould sculptures by Dieter Roth, who died in 1998. The current exhibition at Kunsthaus Zug entitled «Und weg mit den Minuten. Dieter Roth und die Musik» refers to the aspect of time while focusing primarily on the musical works by this universal artist. It is on display until 11 January 2015, after which it will be presented at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. The exhibition is supplemented by a video production called «Selten geführte Gespräche» (rarely held talks), which shows Roth’s performances, happenings and cabaret shows, as well as interviews with friends and artistic companions. Details at www.kunsthauszug.ch

Rhaeto-Romanic Literature Meeting

«Dis da litteratura» in Domat/Ems is the main annual fixture for the Rhaeto-Romanic literature scene. The 24th edition opens on 7 November with a preview presentation of «Crestomat», the first Rhaeto-Romanic comic for mobile applications, written by Sabrina Bundi and Michel Decurtins and drawn by Mathias Durisch. Further programme items include a reading by Attilio Bivetti, a debate on a book project aiming to portray the life of a generation in the Surselva region, and a concert by the Surselva children’s choir. Programme details at www.litteraturarumantscha.ch

Founding Myths and Swiss Village Farce

In the autumn of 1915, representatives of left-wing organisations met secretly, disguised as ornithologists, in Zimmerwald in the Canton of Berne for a congress of the Socialist International. Among them were Lenin and Trotsky. Participants of a Russian-Swiss theatre project explored communist founding myths and, together with authors Ariane von Graffenried und Matto Kämpf, worked the results into a play in the style of a Swiss village farce. «Alle Vögel sind schon da» (all birds have now arrived, the opening line of a nursery rhyme) can be seen from 15 October at Schlachthaus Theater in Berne. It will subsequently be shown in Zurich and Chur before travelling to St Petersburg in April 2015. Further details at: www.schlachthaus.ch


Oscar Bianchi and Constanza Macras in Hellerau

In preparation of its latest project «THE PAST», the DorkyPark dance company led by choreographer Constanza Macras explored the art of remembering. For this, they interviewed people who remember towns that no longer exist. The production’s sound landscape was created by composer Oscar Bianchi from the Canton of Ticino, who received a work grant from Pro Helvetia for this project. The world premiere will be held at the renowned Zentrum der Künste Hellerau in Dresden on 7 November, after which the piece is due to go on an extended tour of Europe. Further details at www.hellerau.org

Ugo Rondinone’s First Solo Exhibition in China

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone has already made a name for himself among Chinese art lovers. With the support of Pro Helvetia’s liaison office in Shanghai, he is now presenting his first solo exhibition in the Middle Kingdom at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, lasting up to 4 January. The exhibition is called «Breathe Walk Die». The name can be seen from afar in the form of a rainbow-coloured neon sign created by the artist and placed on the roof of the museum. Further information at www.prohelvetia.cn

Choreography from Geneva at Lebanese Street Festival

When two people unintentionally say the same thing at the same time, you sometimes speak of a jinx. In Hungarian, the term is «103». Two bodies in synchronised movement – this has given rise to the name «JINX 103» for a folkloristic-acrobatic dance choreography, which will be performed at the 10th Beirut Street Festival on 17 and 18 October. The dancers involved are József Trefeli and Gabor Varga, both resident in Geneva but originally from Eastern Europe. More information at www.beirutstreetfestival.com

Swiss Experimental Sound Artists on the Indian Subcontinent

The Sound Reasons festival 2014 attracts experimental sound artists from the contemporary jazz and electronic music scenes to cities in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Organised by Pro Helvetia’s liaison office in New Delhi, Swiss musicians Thomas Peter, Manuel Oberholzer aka Feldenmelder, Marcus Maeder, the improvisation duo Diatribes and Salomé Voegelin will be among those taking the stage. As in its two previous editions, this year’s festival again builds on intensive collaboration between Indian and European sound artists. Programme details at soundreasons.in


Zurich – Mecca for Gamers for Three Days

The free daily paper «20 Minuten» spoke of an awakening of gaming awareness. «Neue Zürcher Zeitung» concluded that the Swiss game scene is well able to hold its own in an international comparison. Their topic was the game festival «Ludicious», initiated by Pro Helvetia and the City of Zurich and held on Kasernenareal in Zurich. Zurich may still be overshadowed by the giants of the game industry, wrote «Tagesanzeiger», but this could actually be its chance for the future. Because in Switzerland, the paper continued, games can be produced by those who love them. Further information at www.prohelvetia.ch


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One click to the website of Pro Helvetia Johannesburg: www.prohelvetia.org.za


Pro Helvetia

Swiss Arts Council

Hirschengraben 22
8024 Zurich

Editor: Isabel Drews

Translations: Martin Striegel

Pro Helvetia supports and promotes Swiss culture in Switzerland
and throughout the world.