Back to News

RELAX (Chiarenza and Hauser & Co). Was wollen wir behalten?

These days, we are inundated with news of top ten rankings and highest prices for artworks. But how are these lists compiled, and how do they formulate a canon by which the importance of the individual artist is judged? RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co) explores the issue. At the Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich, Marie-Antoinette Chiarenza and Daniel Hauser take a closer look at the works in the collection, at the place itself, at the way the collection has been built up over the past 151 years, and put them into context in relation to this canonisation.

The exhibition sheds a whole new light on the Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich. Some of the leading questions in RELAX’s research and choice of works were: How does a structure emerge within a collection, and what does it mean? What approaches to art have been the focus, both past and present? Which have been acquired? Which have been shown? And, finally: How do the choices made in collecting and exhibiting these works influence the canon, and vice versa? According to them, “We were destined to fail, because the only valid choice is an illusion.” And yet, by highlighting the works of women artists and of un-known positions, their explicitly unconventional selection calls traditional and conventional criteria into question. They present works on paper from the collection of the Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich ranging across the centuries and across many different styles and motifs – from William Hogarth to Angelika Kauffmann – featuring everything from theatre to marketplace, from servants to self-portraits.

The result is an installation that includes their own videos, works on paper and spatially arranged elements, incorporating prints from the collection. In addition, the new work group by RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co) with the title what do we want to keep? (was wollen wir behalten?) is being shown, in which the focus is on images of women and money. With their installation, Chiarenza and Hauser have transformed the exhibition space into a study space where visitors can research, read, look and relax.


Leave a Reply