|Tour de Suisse|
September 4 – October 23, 1994
Fri-Art Centre d‘Art Contemporain, Fribourg
– Hutregal, 1994, 49 hats, labeled, in a shelf made of MDF; Private Collection, Berlin
– Installation: MDF, painted; metal supports, current publications of Swiss cultural
institutions, six coat hooks, six hats, wall text, 60 wooden boxes, 35 with completed
– Cinema: video projection Sketch for a Roadmovie, 150 min., camera: Michel Ritter;
table with monitor and video archive of talks with curators
Christian Philipp Müller traveled through Switzerland. In Tour de Suisse, the artist, who has worked primarily in the U.S. since 1992, cast a backward glance and investigated 65 Swiss art institutions, developing a working concept—more of a heuristic system than a finished work.
Each of the institutions received a questionnaire, developed in collaboration with Lüneburg sociologist Ulf Wuggenig, with 50 questions regarding their holdings as well as their institutional and financial structure. At the time of the exhibition opening, 35 of them had been filled out and sent back; these were installed by Müller in 60 wooden boxes arranged in a grid, unevaluated and in alphabetical order.Then in the summer of 1994, Müller traveled to each of these 65 institutions as an art tourist, together with Michel Ritter, director of Fri-Art in Fribourg. On this journey, he also appeared in the role of analyst, conducting 25 interviews with directors of the institutions. The result comprises the video Sketch for a Road Movie.
In the first presentation, which took place in the Fri-Art exhibition space, the current Swiss art landscape was mapped out in terms of its lakes. These orientation points were painted blue; between them, each art institution was marked by a bookstand bearing its publications from the years 1992 to 1994. The height of the metal placeholders marked the altitude of each site above sea level (on a scale of 1000:1), ranging from easily accessible, central locations
such as Zurich to remote art outposts in mountainous regions, such as Furkart at the height of the Furka pass. Even before entering the exhibition space, visitors were confronted with their own role within the art establishment. The coat stand was temporarily replaced by a hat rack bearing white caps with seven different inscriptions in German and French: “Artist,” “Critic,” “Spectator,” “Agent,” “Patron,” “Collector,” “Dealer.” In the exhibition, the caps hung on coat hooks on the wall, with four questions next to them: “What role would you like to play? What role do you play? Where do you come from? Where would you like to go?”