24. September – 20. November 2011
With the exhibition Davide Cascio and Peter Stämpfli: James Bond & Pin-Ups the Kunstmuseum Thun connects two artists from different generations who are both committed in their own way to pop art and the ideas of the 1960s and 1970s. In various media including painting, film, collage and installation, they deal with the utopias, desires and obsessions of this period from different time perspectives.
The name of the exhibition James Bond & Pin-Ups inspires imagination. It evokes rapid gunfights, passionate nights of love, luscious curves or shaken or stirred drinks. But the Thun exhibition involves much more than that. The two Swiss artists Peter Stämpfli (born in Deisswil, BE, in 1937) and Davide Cascio (born in Lugano, TI, in 1976) separates more than one generation. But they share a common interest that connect each other: the fascination with the ideas of the (consumer) society of the 1960s and 1970s. The symbols designated in the exhibition's title stand for the obsessions, desires and aspirations of the time, and they also cite the name of one work of each artist. In Kunstmuseum Thun the two artists are invited to enter into a dialogue. Peter Stämpfli is one of the few Swiss pop art artists, who also had important successes internationally. While his works created in the 1960s and 1970s provide an insight into the spirit of the time, the look at that era in the work of the younger Davide Cascio is rather retrospective and connected with the here and now.
In his early works from the 1960s, Peter Stämpfli draws on the world of consumption in content comparable to the American representatives of pop art. His large-format paintings show objects from daily life, enriched with a little pleasure or comfort such as cigarettes, washbasins, refrigerators or bottles. He has drawn on motifs from magazine ads, but he always avoids naming the product brands. Painted against a neutral background, the artist moves the objects completely under the spotlight and thereby grants them a certain exaggeration, which at the same time is put into perspective by the cool colours.
Peter Stämpfli's fascination with the subject of cars is evident throughout his work. Since 1969, the interest in this dream object of the 1960s emerges in his work in a radical form. From then on his attention has been exclusively on this topic or, more precisely, one aspect of it - namely, the pattern and tracks left by car tyres. In his recent work he examines it at such close range that the reference to the context disappears and the object dissolves into a geometric abstraction.
The idea of a reference system that connects all things matters in Davide Cascio's artistic work. His works are characterised by complex references, without distinguishing between a 'high' or 'low'. Multi-layered drafts for architecture, design, literature and society with utopian potential designs are juxtaposed with the dream and consumer worlds, thereby producing far-reaching thinking spaces, into which sometimes one can even walk in.
The recurring recourse to magazines from the 1960s and 1970s and to the iconography of that time particularly catch the eye in Davide Cascio's collages. Photographs of women looking seductively into the camera are alienated by images of precious stones, flowers or feathers, pictures of modern interiors with futuristic shapes. Especially in combination with his installation and sculptural objects, they reflect the need for a preferably harmonious existence and habitat and at the same time questions what is left of the past utopias.
A catalogue (d/e) with numerous illustrations and articles by Dr. Tobias Lander, Guido Magnaguagno, Dr. Marie Theres Stauffer and an introduction by Helen Hirsch will be released on the occasion of the exhibition in Verlag für moderne Kunst, Nuremberg.
The exhibition and the catalogue are supported by the Ernst und Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung.