What is Grey Exactly?, our new presentation of works from the collection, looks at the (non-)colour grey as a technical phenomenon, a carrier of meaning, or a component of a general concept. The sculptural works of Aargau artist Maia Aeschbach are central to this exhibition. Making a guest appearance in the collection, she presents her largely unknown work together with early, large-scale works on paper by Miriam Cahn, Marianne Kuhn, Klaudia Schifferle and Silvia Bächli. The line-up includes numerous works of other artists who critically reflected on the effect of grey.
The collection presentation titled What is Grey Exactly? points to the deliberate use of the (non-)colour grey in Swiss art from the 1960s to the present. Works by artists such as Balthasar Burkhard, Helmut Federle, Franz Fedier, Alex Hanimann, Markus Raetz oder Hugo Suter serve to illustrate the different motivations underlying artistic preoccupation with the colour grey. Thus, grey can manifest itself as a technical precondition, as artistic material, as a carrier of meaning or as a conceptual element.
The invariably grey-black sculptural paper works of Maia Aeschbach (b. 1928) provide the starting point for the exhibition. The Aargau artist used a simple technique, applying graphite on paper and then treating the surface with milk and lard. As a next step, these prefabricated papers were arranged into softly gleaming objects and installations that simulate the materiality of metal. Because the artist ended up taken most of the exhibits to pieces again, only few complete works survive and almost all of the works that do survive are now on view at the Aargauer Kunsthaus
. Making a guest appearance in the collection, Maia Aeschbachs works are presented here in the art historical context of the large-scale works on paper by Miriam Cahn, Marianne Kuhn, Klaudia Schifferle and Silvia Bächli from the 1980s. The seminal importance of these pieces using black paint was not lost
on Maia Aeschbach.