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Essays




alles fliesst

by guido magnaguagno | german


hermann alfred sigg. ninety years. farm boy turned artist. seventy years of painting. and still going strong.

paint flowed for 70 years. it hasn’t stopped. rivers have been flowing through his work even longer. how could heraclitus’s much vaunted maxim not apply?

this oeuvre is defined by rivers, it has been in flow for seven decades, without interruption, without hiatus. it flows in gentle meanders, avoids ups and downs, forms
no eddies, follows the tranquil course of large and leisurely waterways.

gradually washing away the boundaries of familiar art zones, creating a geography of its own. once a setting for the world’s major civilizations, from india to indonesia to china. his recent work has left those connotations behind. the paintings have come home – to themselves. pictorial signs – pictorial dreams. nothing more, nothing less. autonomous, abstract painting. or should one perhaps call it autochtonous and thus name it as a kingdom unto itself?

a kingdom of colour and a kingdom of plane. sigg’s visual universe is paint on plane, first and foremost, like the nabis, that French art form at the turn of the twentieth century that culminated in early bonnard and vuillard with maurice denis as its exegete. a seamless development can be traced from the small-format beginnings in paris around 1952 to the large formats. for instance, within the red or daydream (c. 2010). the decorative aura radiates a polish and a luxury that might happily be seated between matisse und rothko. sigg’s sense of colour is as cultivated as french taste.

which certainly does not preclude existential depth, except that it is grounded not
in tragedy but in joy and serenity. a wise man, a quiet painter. a painter of stillness, yes,
a painter of (far eastern) wisdom.

light-heartedness, the hardest thing to do. he does it. with a smile, with wit, irony and a generous dollop of understatement. characteristic of an “eternal” painter who doesn’t age, who believes in his work.

it’s a pleasure.
an oeuvre that is a spring of harmony and well-being for the eye, and balm for the soul.


guido magnaguagno: 1980 bis 2000 war Magnaguagno als Kurator im Kunsthaus Zürich tätig und ab 1987 dessen Vizedirektor. In dieser Zeit kuratierte er Ausstellungen zum Dadaismus, zur Geschichte der Fotografie und Monografien von Klassikern wie Munch, Ensor, Hodler oder Segantini. 2000 bis 2009 als Direktor des Tinguelymuseums in Basel zeichnete er sich verantwortlich für Ausstellungen zu den Nouveaux Réalistes, Duchamp, Schwitters und Max Ernst. Seither hat er als freier Ausstellungsmacher im Palazzo Strozzi in Florenz eine Ausstellung zum Surrealismus kuratiert und in der Fondation Beyeler eine von Segantini.

 

 

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