Claudia Groeflin Galerie is pleased to present WALLPOWER, a group exhibition showcasing five
up-and-coming Swiss artists – Beni Bischof (*1976, lives and works in St. Gallen), Vittorio
Brodmann (*1987, lives and works in Geneva), Athene Galiciadis (*1978, lives and works in Zürich),
Emil Michael Klein (*1982, lives and works in Basel), and Guillaume Pilet (*1984, lives and works in

WALLPOWER is a particular quality possessed by certain works of art – a certain expressiveness
that only unfolds its full potency upon a wall. Specifically relating to painting, WALLPOWER is
exactly that which makes it powerful, in contrast to that which is explicitly depicted. The question
arises, however, especially concerning contemporary art, as to what exactly bestows WALLPOWER
upon a work of art? What is the state of young contemporary painting, considering the innumerable
declarations of the death, and then again the resurrection, of painting throughout the 20th century?
This repeated declaration and its subsequent revocation has provided the image, and therefore also
the wall, with new possibilities. Novel techniques and fresh representations have developed, up to
the point where paint in its purest form has been displayed on walls; up to the point where not only
canvases were exhibited, but also objects, which meanwhile have become part of the expanded notion
of the image. The concept of painting has expanded to such a degree that it has long outgrown the
canvas. Four thousand years ago, men painted on the walls of their caves, then began decorating
their tombs and vases with narratives enclosed within borders. Becoming ever more sophisticated
with the passing of time, the elaborate murals and mosaics acquired frames, making them portable
images detached from walls, prone to being used as indicators of power and status. In most recent
centuries the frame has at times been deemed irrelevant, whilst nowadays what is designated as a
frame is as limitless as what is executed as such, and WALLPOWER has attained new, seemingly
boundless expressive power.

Art has a tradition of reinterpretation and reference to historical moments that have proven to have
WALLPOWER, a practice that is ongoing today, as is visible in Guillaume Pilet’s wall installation
referring to Barnett Newman’s “zip paintings”. In this work, the wall itself becomes the canvas, but
then again also acts as surface for the presentation of his tie-dye pictures. Vittorio Brodmann installs
canvases that confront the stereotype of the painter and remind of promotional city posters of the
first half of the 20th century, completely without frames. Though Emil Michael Klein’s abstract pictures
could solitarily prove their strength, hanging on a white wall gives them an undeniable WALLPOWER,
because the white lines between the colors on the canvas incorporate the white of the entire wall,
and therewith include it in the pictures’ effective range. In this sense, the wall often merges into
the painting, and vice versa, to become an integral part of the work. This is also exemplified in
Beni Bischof’s black paintings on black background, which become an integral wall installation.
Athene Galiciadis’ paravent made of colorful wooden mosaics bypasses the constraints of frames,
not to mention the expectations of traditional painting, in the sense that the painting itself becomes a
physical wall, as well as that it blurs the limits between painting and sculpture, wall and painting,
and wall as border.

Text: Sara Forsythe