KunstHaus Vera Staub
Altes Schul- und Pfrundhaus
CH-6487 Göschenen, Switzerland
CH-6030 Ebikon, Switzerland
t +41 (0) 78 608 15 48
Since 2008 member of the Swiss Society of Artists (Visarte)
Since 1989 working as an independent artist
||‘Fundatia Inter-Art Symposium’, Aiud, Romania|
|2018||‘Fundatia Inter-Art Symposium’, Aiud, Romania|
|2017||VI International Wool Symposium, El Arreciado, Spain|
|2012||Opening of the House of Art, former school and almshouse, Göschenen, Switzerland|
|2010||Forma Viva International Sculpting Symposium, Makole, Slovenia|
|2009||‘Fundatia Inter-Art Symposium’, Aiud, Romania|
|2003||Artist in residency in Berlin, Germany|
|2000/1||Artist in residency at Prösitz (Leipzig), Germany|
|1989-1992||Living and working in Boston and New York, USA|
|1978-1980||Teacher on primary school level in Peru|
|1960-1963||Living in Mexico|
|1957||Born in St. Gallen, Switzerland|
Solo Exhibitions (selection):
||‘überfliessend II’, Thomaskirche, Adligenswil, Switzerland|
||‘Biblionen-to-go’, Art-Performance-Lecture, 38. Kunstsalon, Künstlergut Prösitz, Grimma, Germany|
|2017||Installation ‘Biblionen’ and opening of the book ‘Biblionen’, Maihofkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland|
|2017||‘Goeschenen at the seaside’, KunstHaus Vera Staub, Goeschenen, Switzerland|
|2016||‘Netz-netzig-netto-tausendfacher Segen’, Maihofkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland|
|2013||‘Hit by Lightening’, KunstHaus Vera Staub, Göschenen, Switzerland|
|2012||Opening of the KunstHaus Vera Staub, Göschenen, Switzerland|
|2011||‘Biblionen’, Kirche St. Josef, Lucerne, Switzerland|
|2010||Kloster Fahr, Switzerland|
|2008||‘Romperemos un pilar’, installation in a circus wagon about dying, wandering project|
|2004||Galerie Bernau, Bernau (Berlin), Germany|
|2002||Galerie am Buttermarkt, Cologne, Germany|
|1998||ITA Galerie, Lucerne, Switzerland|
|1991||Vera Engelhorn Gallery, New York, USA|
|1991||Kimball-Bourgault Gallery, Boston, USA|
|1989||Galerie Foto Studio, Maur Zürich, Switzerland|
Group Exhibitions (selection):
||International Mailart ‘100’, Inter-Art, Cluj, Rumänien|
||‘Intercontinental Biennial of Small Graphics’, Inter-Art, Aiud, Rumänien|
|2017||‘Fermata’, Expo Turbine, Giswil, Switzerland|
|2016||Sculpture Park, Ennetbürgen, Switzerland|
|2015||United Nations, Geneva, Intercultural Links, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland|
|2015||‘Art for peace’, Today Art Initiative, Yerevan, Armenia|
|2014||‘Best of’, Sihlquai 55, InspaceVisarte Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland|
|2014||‘yesterday-tomorrow’, KunstRaum Weiertal, Visarte, Winterthur, Switzerland|
|2013||‘Nations-Water-Culture’, Inter-Art Foundation, United Nations, New York, USA|
|2012||New Arts Program, Leigh Valley and Berks, PA, USA|
|2012||Mailart, Inter-Art Aiud, Romania|
|2009||Amateras, Art Alley, Sofia, Bulgaria|
|2010||New Arts Program, Leigh Valley and Berks, PA, USA|
|2009||Stiftung akku, Emmenbrücke, Switzerland|
|2008||Oxyd Kunsträume, Winterthur, Switzerland|
|2008||Galerie Marlene, Ottenbach, Switzerland|
|2007||SGBK, Kunst Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland|
|2006||‚Exodus‘, Galerie DESET, Prag, Czech|
|2006||‚HangART‘, Turbine, Giswil, Switzerland|
|2005||Kunstzone D4, Root (Lucerne), Switzerland|
|2004||Galerie Stiftung Binz 39, Zürich, Switzerland|
|2002||GS, Galerie Schenker, Lucerne, Switzerland|
|2001||Galerie Bertram, Burgdorf, Switzerland|
|2001||‚Kreuze der Gegenwart‘, Einsiedeln, Switzerland|
|2000||Klosterkirche St. Augustin, Grimma (Leipzig), Switzerland|
|1997||Villa Schüpbach, Steffisburg, Switzerland|
Art in Public Space (selection):
|2016||‘Please step in II’ Sculpture Park, Ennetbürgen, Switzerland|
|2016||‘Collected tears’, Center Aiud, Rumänien|
|2010||‘Schwangerer Sarg’, (pregnant coffin) Kloster Fahr, Schweiz|
|2010||‘why less clouds, Kud Forma Viva, Makole, Slowenia|
Vera Staub, ‘Biblionen’ with articles of Eugen Drewermann und Stephan E. Hauser, 2017, Verlag orte (Hg.) ISBN ISBN 978-3-85830-211-3
‘Von der Wucht des Blitzes getroffene Kunst’, Neue Urner Zeitung, September 2013
‘Neuer Ort für die Kunst’, Neue Urner Zeitung, 9. August 2012
Blog Roger Levy, (www.kulturtv.ch), Tagebuch zu Biblionenauftritt in der Maihofkirche Luzern, April 2011
Gabriela Wild, Kunstbuch I: Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit des Nicht-Seins, Das Kulturmagazin, Mai 2011
Claudia Jaun, Biblionen in der Maihofkirche, Adieu Tuch, Pfarreiblatt, katholisch Luzern, November 2011
Thyra Elsasser, Biblionen, eine Kunstvernissage ohne Kunstobjekte? Pfarreiblatt, katholisch Luzern, Sept. 2011 ‚Und er gab mir einen Stein‘, Appenzellerverlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-85882-538-4
Stephan E. Hauser Stephan, ‚Auszug der Papilonen‘, Edition Howeg (Hg.), Zürich 2002, ISBN 3-85736-221-9
‘Biblions‘ are meditative installations. They are based on statements from the bible, one of the foundations of our occidental cultural values.
During Holy Week and Easter the artist Vera Staub will work in the Church St. Josef, Lucerne, Switzerland on her art project ‘Biblions’. The church will become her studio. The visitors can follow the making of the various installations. The installations will be subject of meditative contemplations and integrated in the religious festivities taking place during Holy Week and Easter.
The artist Vera Staub explores in her artistic projects transitions and makes seeming opposites like birth and death the subjects of her investigations. While doing so, the sculptor, drawer and performer asks the viewers to become part of her work.
It may be a circus trailer where she invites passersby to come in to experience her work (as in the traveling project ‘Romperemos un pilar’, 2008), or it may be a church.
During Holy Week and Easter 2011 Vera Staub moves her studio into the church St. Josef in Lucerne. The visitors can follow in the silence of the church the genesis of her installations, the so-called BIBLIONS.
The various installations will be subject of meditative contemplations, which will be integral part of the church services.
Similar to the other works by the artist, the installations Vera Staub is creating in St. Josef invite us on a meditative journey – to the transitions within ourselves.
KunstHaus Vera Staub
Göschenen’s former school and almshouse becomes House of Art
Change in Göschenen – The former school and almshouse is being transformed into the KunstHaus Vera Staub (House of Art Vera Staub) and will also house a branch office of the Museumsfabrik („Museum-Factory“). The building will be a place of artistic creation and encounter, set in the unique mountain scenery of the Gotthard region in Switzerland.
The opening of the new KunstHaus in Göschenen will be celebrated with a feast and a new exhibition, to take place on September 1st, 2012, between 10 am and 8 pm. All are invited to attend.
The school and almshouse has a colorful history. The former house was set on fire by the parish cook in 1870. She barricaded herself in the burning building and pelted the approaching firefighters with stones before she perished with the house. Where should be built the new school and almshouse? The town decided to demolish the ruins of a medieval tower, which was built in 1290 by the lords of Rapperswil, and construct a new school and almshouse on its original foundation. Parts of which are still visible beneath the present building.
In 1909 the building was auctioned by the parish and the proceeds were used for the construction of a new parish church. From 1909 until 2012 it was used as a private home. Now it is about to become the KunstHaus Vera Staub.
The visual artist Vera Staub creates sculptures and installations that are engaged in people and their stories. The former school and almshouse in Göschenen is her current project as well as her studio. An almshouse was an early kind of retirement benefit: it was endowed by the community to offer refuge and charity to those in need. The artist Vera Staub would like her art studio to be a benefit given to the community, and she hopes that it will serve as a foundation for the town’s future life. The KunstHaus will be a place where Vera Staub’s artwork will develop and her artistic processes can be followed. In addition it will be a place of inspiration for people and their stories, and a place for encounters with art.
To celebrate the opening of the KunstHaus Vera Staub will exhibit artworks especially conceived for the rooms of the KunstHaus. In the historic stone cellar, which now serves as a sculpture studio, carved sandstones will be on view. Upstairs in the former classroom there will be photographs, still lifes taken in the house itself, which show the interplay between the artist and her surroundings.
The building will also house a branch office of the Museumsfabrik, a museum and exhibition consulting business founded by Kilian T. Elsasser. For several years he has been engaged in the preservation and the continuous use of the unique Gotthard railway which passes through Göschenen.
Vera Staub and Kilian Elsasser would be delighted to have you visit on Saturday, September 1st, and to welcome you to their new studio and office in the historic almshouse. Departures of the Papilones
Interactive art project, 2000-2002
Germany and Switzerland
Romperemos un Pilar
And he gave me a stone
In the traveling project titled And he gave me a stone Vera Staub invited passersby into her circus trailer where a sculpture in form of a tomb shroud awaited them and confronted them at this place of ‘enchantment’ with the topic of death. The aesthetic of the installation created the sensations of attraction and shudder at the same time.
Vera Staub documented her art action in form of empathetic photographs.
The author and journalist Brigitte Schmid-Gugler gets herself into these images.
Her short essays, analyses of the images, personal references and associative and sometimes humorous texts make the topic ‘The volatility of being’ approachable and are easy to read.
She describes the encounter of the artist and the public, makes art historical and historico-cultural observations; she describes the reservations she had at first, her awe of the topic, and reveals at the same time her fascination with it. The latter becomes notably perceptible in the correspondence with the 91-year-old writer, poet, nun and mystic Silja Walter from the monastery of Fahr. In addition to the letters, Silja Walter also contributed a poem to the book.
(Magdalena Bernath, Die Zeile, 2010)
The works of art shown on the following pages are in marble and sandstone. It is poetry in marbel, both subtle and sensitive. Characteristically, all pieces I work on are handcrafted. I do not make a plan before I start. I start working as the stone inspires me. The roughly surface shows strength and also bears boldness in it. But there is also a hint of gentlewind enveloping the stone.
The artist expressively wishes the viewer to be seduced to touch the work of art, even to sit on it, feeling the forms, falling in dreaming.
Vera Staub. Departure of the Papilones. Thank you. For coming. Foreign fellows. Have – arrived. At dawn. And are gone again. At dusk. More than once. But never twice. Always on the road. Nowhere at home. Everywhere. Challenging. Headstrong. Obnoxious. Wild. Irritating. Different. With a lot of time. And patience. They can bare us. Much better than we can bare them. That’s making them strong. They are smart. And playful. Tease with all kinds of trumpery. With simple things. Of an everyday’s world. Without any particular value. They don’t mind. Whatever occurs to them. They are lovely. Funny. And extraordinary. Art. Totally different. The Papilones. Friends.
Text from page one/cover of booklet to accompany envelope with loose cards of images from the ‚Papilones‘ project.
Stephan E. Hauser text
Über den Dächern
‚Art on the Roof’Happening, 1992
Profile of the artist Vera Staub
If a painter is also trained as a dancer, as is the case with the Swiss artist Vera Staub, it cannot but affect how she holds and moves her brush, or what her finished canvas holds. Here is no picture window, no landscape, no dreamscape: figuration is almost entirely absent. Think instead of a splash, or of a scar, or of the jumping seismograph needle. Think of a moment that is private yet earthshaking. That movement is what the painter-dancer’s canvas will mark.
Staubs paintings flaunt a Dionysiac intensity, yet contain (and withold) a mysterious knowledge. Her kinetic energy has an inscrutable motivation, one the artist herself does not wish to analyze. ‚I can only wait until a painting emerges from me‘, she says, and when it does emerge, she thinks of it as an uncensored translation of her innermost feelings. These feelings are basic, even primal: a zest for life backgrounded by an awareness of death. This radiant source produces the physical and psychical tension that makes her work most interesting- She has been refined by years spent in intellectually, mentally, and geographically exotic environments: studying and performing Spanish and Afro-american dance, teaching retarded children in her native Switzerland, and also teaching for several years in the forest of Peru. Her currrent residence in New York City will alter her in ways yet unknown.*
Already during the past few years, her paintings have grown spare and lean in gesture, even as they have grown larger, almost monumental. Since 1988, Staub has shown in Switzerland, Boston, and in New York at the Vera Engelhorn Gallery, which hosted her first local one-woman show in October 1991.
A detailed description of one painting from that show is the best way to (verbally) illustrate the painter’s method. The large, untitled work in acrylic on paper opens with an intensely red vertical brush stroke about one foot wide, set three feet away from the painting’s left edge. The vigor and violence of the gesture shows in the way the paint applies to the paper, its pastiness and small gaps of unpainted space – there was no time for a continuous coat. The resulting osmotic interplay of paper and paint form a pictoral element as strong as the color itself.
Like a second note plucked from invisible strings, another beam of color is set to the right of the first, but far more lightly, and with thinner paint. It seems diaphanous, especially in contrast to the first stroke’s earthy thickness. It also has a slight swing. As it moves rightward, it spatters some of its form, jumping and dancing into what culminates as the painting’s center. The red whirls like a dervish and casts out black shapes which burst over an entire third of the space. But then the black rockets over to the right side in a horizontal zoom totally abondoning the red and seizing the area for itself: the last two fifths of this very horizontal painting belong exclusively to black and to the bare paper. One imagines that the silence of the color environment has to do with the shade of black that is without vigor, even van.
In this painting the right edge is simply the end of the paper roll, and the oblique-angled border is simply how the manufacturer cut it. The border perfectly suits the painting’s arrowlike shape, and also suggests the end of the kinetic narrative (even though the work is non-representational). The way though the artist imparts meaning to this ordinary paper border, the way she grabs its shape and makes it part of her larger scheme, is like a tiny flash of the luminous process of art-making.
Characteristically, her paintings always seem set in a particular moment. These are not timeless icons, but rather sudden and dense outbursts of their own, or the artist’s own, state of being, out of wich they are thrown into the visible world.
The tension between the private act of making the public act of display has even affected where Staub paints. The enclosed room of the studio lacks the immediacy she wants, so one day she moved up to the roof, wich lay invitingly open and flat at her apartment house. From here, in upper Manhattan, she could even see the Hudson, and it was here that she created her most recent series of large paintings. As she says, ‚When my painitings emerge, sunlight, wind, and weather matter as much as my imagination.‘
Her working tools are simple and few: a roll of paper, a water bowl, acrylics red and black, broad brushes, and a scalpel to cut away the finished work. When she has readied her materials, she begins to move – it’s sort of ritual dancing, which metamorphoses into true ‚action painting‘.
The paper is pinned down flat. Beside it, around it, all the time surveying it, she moves rhythmically and repeatedly, pacing up and down. This may last minutes, or only seconds, as she listens for a voice deep inside her, and hearing it, her brush-arm seems to speak. With wide, swinging strokes, precise control, and lightening speed, she commits her intimate act of painting in the wide-open space. She thus exposes herself in the making just as much as in the finished work.
Most people viewing Staubs paintings are, of course, entirely unaware of how they were made. They may seem without reason, and they may seem sensual, but no one can ever know what the artist was thinking. This pleases her. ‚I don’t want the viewer to focus on my feelings; this is one reason I dont’t give my paintings titles. I want the viewer to develop a personal relationship to them.’
*When this text was ready for publication, the artist had already returned to Switzerland, where she is continuing her work today.
I would like to thank Aaron Schloff for his careful editing.
Stephan E. Hauser
New York 1992