Apropos Hodler

Mar 8, 2024 - Jun 30, 2024

Scandalous artist and national icon: forgotten and rediscovered

In this exhibition, the Kunsthaus Zürich explores the topicality of Ferdinand Hodler, known as a "national artist". "Speaking of Hodler" contrasts one-sided interpretations with the formal, cultural and political work of this painter in all its diversity and attempts to see the old and familiar in a new light. Works by over 30 contemporary artists are juxtaposed with around 50 paintings by the Swiss icon.

Hodler's reception history ran in waves. As a "scandalous artist", his participation in the Secession exhibitions in Berlin and Vienna around 1900 made him one of the most progressive artists of his time. However, Hodler, who came from an uneducated family, had worked hard for his professional success. This background and his early preference for subjects from the life of a craftsman initially endeared Hodler to socialists such as Hans Mühlestein (1887-1969). Revered as a great Swiss artist at his death in 1918, Hodler's work faded after the Second World War. It was not until the 1980s that Hodler experienced a new appreciation in Switzerland. Recognised in art history for his position as an innovative artist, Hodler has become a symbol of traditional values for the general public. The Kunsthaus is taking this change in reception as an opportunity to show Ferdinand Hodler alongside and with international contemporary artists. The concept and the 30 invited artists were developed and selected by the Kunsthaus curators Sandra Gianfreda and Cathérine Hug together with a collective. These include the artists Sabian Baumann (*1962), Ishita Chakraborty (*1989) and RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co; since 1983). They responded to a jointly compiled list of Hodler paintings. The scenography was created in close collaboration with the artist Nicolas Party (*1980).

If you book a room at the Hotel Alexander, you will benefit from free admission to the Kunsthaus Zürich. There are 4 tickets available per day.