Claude Gigon
10. June – 15. July 2017
Vernissage: Friday 9. June, 6pm – 9pm


The gallery is proud to present the new series of oil paintings Lumière by Claude Gigon in our “white space”. It is Claude Gigon’s third solo show at DuflonRacz after Portraits d’Idées (2009) and Monte la Neige (2013).

The paintings in the exhibition navigate between representation and abstraction, between showing a concrete physical phenomenon and accessing an interior landscape of the imagination. Originally inspired by the painter’s memory of rituals conducted at Mount Shasta in northern California, the paintings depict the shapes and textures of mountains that seem suspended in their surrounding landscapes: deep black mountains are intersected, disrupted and illuminated by flashes of colour or planes of white. Light and darkness are a part of the same, interconnected surface. Thick layers of oil paint, applied by the artists in a slow process of addition and revision, forge their own, almost metaphysical territory of light and space. Claude Gigon, an autodidactic painter who lives and works in the Jura region of Switzerland, was particularly interested in mountains as a site for the expression of mystery and a quest for transcendence – both in various spiritual practices as well as in traditions of romantic landscape painting. Gigon’s practice seeks a moment of confrontation with the unknown, exploring affective and spiritual states; a timeless space of vision in both senses of the word. His paintings are topographies of the mind.

At the same time in the “dark” space and in project LINKS, we are very happy to introduce the first solo exhibition in Bern by Geneva based artist Nina Haab. The two artist’s work is clearly very different: while Gigon pursues intuitive, essential expression in the traditional medium of oil paint, Nina Haab’s practice is research based and employs various media – from video and photography to installations and interactive performances – to suit the ideas, aims and atmosphere of a project. However, in the works exhibited here both artists are concerned with the links between place and memory, between factual testimony and the potential of imagination and storytelling. Both the artist’s pieces are less about showing a landscape than about exploring its personal meanings and associations. Another link is the particular landscape of various places in the Jura mountains, where Gigon lives and works, and which two of the works by Nina Haab explore through in-depth site specific research.

Claude Gigon (*1960) is an autodidactic painter who lives and works in the Jura region of Switzerland. In 2009 he received the Prix d’encouragement de la culture et des science of the city of Délemont, followed in 2009 and 2015 by solo exhibitions at the Musée Jurassien des Arts, Moutier. Gigon has presented solo shows in Switzerland, Paris and San Francisco, and has exhibited in various public institutions including Kunstmuseum Solothurn and the Graphics Collection of ETH Zurich.

Der autodidaktische Maler Claude Gigon (lebt und arbeitet im Jura) stellt bereits zum dritten Mal seine intuitiven, expressiven Ölbilder bei DuflonRacz aus. Die Serie Lumière stellt Bergmassive dar, die jedoch wie abstrakte Formen in einer angedeuteten Landschaft zu schweben scheinen. Es entsteht ein Wechselspiel zwischen dichtem Schwarz und verschiedenen Stufen von Licht, vom feinen Schimmer bis zur kontrastierenden weissen Fläche. Ausgehend von einer Erinnerung an Rituale am Mt. Shasta in Kalifornien, nähert sich der Maler den spirituellen und mystischen Assoziationen von Bergwelten an. 

Gleichzeitig stellt im Dunklen Raum und im Projekt Links die Tessiner Künstlerin Nina Haab aus. Trotz den offensichtlich sehr unterschiedlichen Arbeitsweisen und Interessen der beiden Künstler, gibt es auch Verbindungen zwischen den Ausstellungen. Beiden geht es weniger um die Darstellung von Landschaften und faktischen historischen Ereignissen als um die persönlichen Bedeutungen und Assoziationen, auch imaginären Annäherungen, die sich in der Auseinandersetzung mit einem Ort ergeben. Ausserdem weisen einige von Haabs Arbeiten einen Bezug zum Jura auf, wo Claude Gigon lebt und arbeitet.