A contemporary sculpture park transforms Switzerland’s Verbier ski resort thanks to Madeleine Paternot, co-founder
IF THERE WAS AN AWARD FOR MUSEUMS WITH A VIEW, THIS ONE WOULD TAKE THE TOP SPOT EVERY TIME. THE VERBIER 3D SCULPTURE PARK IS AN OPEN AIR MUSEUM WHOSE EXHIBITS – PIECES OF MODERN ART CREATED DURING THE COURSE OF AN ARTISTS’ RESIDENCY – ARE SCATTERED ABOUT THE MOUNTAINS AT 2,300M ALTITUDE ABOVE THE ALPINE RESORT OF VERBIER. YOU CAN VISIT THEM ON THE COURSE OF A STROLL BETWEEN THE LA CHAUX AND RUINETTES CHAIR LIFTS, EVEN IN WINTER WHEN THE AREA IS FULL OF SKIERS. IF YOU WANT SOMEONE TO EXPLAIN THE SOMETIMES OBSCURE INSTALLATIONS AND SCULPTURES, FREE GUIDED TOURS ARE AVAILABLE.
TIMEOUT January 2015
The 3-D Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating contemporary art to promote environmentalism, education, and culture to local and international audiences. Founded in 2010 by New York-based artist Madeleine Paternot and Verbier-based artist Kiki Thompson, the foundation created an educational and cultural Artist Residency and Sculpture Park inspired by the stunning Alpine environment of Verbier, Switzerland at an altitude of 2,300 meters between La Chaux and Ruinettes. More than one million visitors to Verbier can access the park for free year round.
In 2016, the Verbier 3-D Foundation launched a 5-year initiative uniting artists, locals and scientists to chronicle the impact of the surrounding glacial environment. Their insights are captured in photography, sculpture and multi-media residencies, alongside research, exhibitions and education programs for audiences of all ages.
Utilizing the lens of art, the Verbier 3-D Foundation aims to create a dialogue around the themes of glacial warming and societal behaviors on a local that extends outwards. The exhibitions will feature new work by visual artists who, in their individual approaches, are interested in these conversations.
IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG POST, WE JOIN MADELEINE PATERNOT ON HER FORMATION OF THE VERBIER 3-D FOUNDATION, A CONTEMPORARY OUTDOOR MUSEUM WITH A FOCUS ON GLACIAL WARMING AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS AND A PLATFORM FOR CREATIVITY AND THE SUPPORT OF CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.
MADDY, WHAT INSPIRED YOU AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
We invite artists from all over the globe to Verbier and challenge them to use the mountainous environment of the Alps as inspiration. The residency challenges the artist to be out of their comfort zone due to the reclusiveness and limitation of the alpine environment. It’s fascinating to watch how this impacts their work. For the past four years, our curators Paul Goodwin and Alexa Kusber have focused on climate change as its effect is pronounced by our rapidly disappearing glaciers in Switzerland.
Additionally, we create events for our artists-in-residence to interact with the local community in Verbier to encourage dialogue around their work and our premise which is focused on the environment. Our educational programs for children and adults are equally important and apart of our platform.
Shot in the alpine landscape that inspired Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Chloe Dewe Mathews’ photographic series ‘In Search of Frankenstein’ juxtaposes snow-covered mountains with a network of eerie subterranean bunkers, built in the 1960s to shelter the entire population of Switzerland in the event of a nuclear disaster.
The project was conceived during a residency at the Verbier 3-D Foundation in 2016, when the artist discovered that Shelley’s manuscript was started during an unusual holiday on the shores of Lake Geneva. The ominously wet weather conditions of 1816 – the ‘Year without Summer’ – forced Shelley and her companions to stay indoors day after day, dreaming up ghost stories, from which Frankenstein’s monster emerged.
Dewe Mathews photographed the region that had inspired the eighteen-year-old author, exploring miles of underground corridors and vast melting glaciers that seemed to offer parallels between Shelley’s prophetic socio-environmental concerns and the anxieties of our time. ‘In Search of Frankenstein’ presents a contemporary sublime, which affords this monumental piece of literature fresh resonance, two hundred years after it was first published.
We have initiated similar programming at PRVT VW. This fall we will host our first Time + Space residency with our past Verbier 3-D artist-in-residence, Chloe Dewe Mathews in New York at PRVT VW. This is a new collaboration between Verbier 3-D and PRVT VW. As we are set in the heart of Soho artist district in an old school loft, the invitation only, in-house residency is geared towards providing international artists and curators “time + space” to further develop their practices in New York’s dynamic urban setting. The aim is to develop a dialogue between the diverse residency locations of New York and Verbier that challenge and expand participating artists’ practices in relation to place. With a focus on deepening research and strengthening art world affiliations, this residency is an extension of the secluded and experimental environment that reflects the Verbier 3-D Sculpture park. This past spring Verbier 3-D helped launch a book and exhibition at the British Library with Chloe that was created during her residency in Verbier entitled, In Search of Frankenstein. Equally exciting, Chloe is launching an exhibition and book with Aperture during their gala this year and we will host her and produce an artist talk with Aperture during her stay. I’m very excited about our upcoming plans, after nearly ten years in New York City, it all seems to be coming together.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, WE WILL EXPLORE SOME OF THE UPCOMING EVENTS AND ART PROGRAMS TAKING PLACE IN VERBIER. IF YOU TIME IT RIGHT, MADDY HERSELF WILL BE THERE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND SHARE THE PARK WITH YOU.