We took a train trip from Zürich up into the Engardin to visit the Muzeum Susch, Grażina Kulczyk’s recently opened, experimental venture to convert an old monastery building, founded in 1157, in a small town (population 300) on the pilgrimage route through the Swiss mountains, alongside a nineteenth-century brewery hard up against the side of the mountain:-
She has developed it as space in which to show two exhibitions a year – the first on A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women (the title of an essay by Siri Hustvedt), curated by Kasi Redzisz, who works at Tate Liverpool, investigating lesser know, avant garde, feminist art from Poland and elsewhere from the 1960s and 1970s.
The buildings have been beautifully adapted by Chasper Schmidlin and Lukas Voellmy, digging underground to create new spaces, adapting the existing rooms in the monastery and adjacent building and adding a metalwork staircase, such that the experience of going round the exhibition is unexpectedly complex, with differently sized and shaped spaces, highly personal in the choice of work and no labelling. They call it slow art: hard to get to, no instant gratification, no well known names; instead work to explore:-
The view out to the adjacent church:-
The archive room with works assembled by Jarosław Kozłowski in 1971-2 at the height of the cold war:-
Some works are permanent. From the Series The Theatre of Disappearance by Adrián Rojas:-
Inn Reverse (2018) by Sara Masüger:-
Stairs (2016-17) by Monika Sosnowska:-
A work, Herrenzimmer by Heidi Bucher, a latex mould of the ‘gentlemen’s study’ in her parents’ house in Winterthur:-
The upstairs corridor:-
Everywhere, there are beautiful views out to refresh the eye:-
Back to the titchy train station:-
The experience is much more intense than the average municipal gallery because the spaces are smaller, there is not a conventional layout, it is all intended to encourage unmediated visual exploration and discovery, which it does very successfully.