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Geta Brătescu is celebrated in two special presentations in Zurich this autumn
Geta Brătescu, Fără titlu (Untitled), 2013. Collage on paper, 14.2 x 19cm / 5 5/8 x 7 1/2 in © The Estate of Geta Brătescu. Courtesy the Estate of Geta Brătescu, Ivan Gallery, Bucharest and Hauser & Wirth.

ZURICH.- The continuing influence of the work of Geta Brătescu is celebrated in two special presentations in Zurich this autumn. Hauser & Wirth Publishers have collaborated with the Swiss fashion house Akris and its Creative Director Albert Kriemler to create a unique display of materials from their archive specially selected by Kriemler. Kriemler has long been inspired by the work of Brătescu and collaborated with the artist and Marian Ivan of Ivan Gallery for Akris’ Spring/Summer 2019 collection. In addition, the presentation celebrates the book conceived by Brătescu and Hauser & Wirth Publishers in 2019, ‘Game of Forms’, which launches publicly on occasion of the opening of ‘Geta Brătescu x Albert Kriemler. A Collaboration’. Complementing this display is ‘Geta Brătescu. The Gesture, The Drawing’ at Hauser & Wirth Rämistrasse, a considered selection of works on paper exploring the artist’s unique approach to drawing, line, and form, organised in collaboration with Ivan Gallery.

Continuing with Hauser & Wirth Publishers’ in-depth work with archival materials, the display at the Publishers’ HQ includes Kriemler’s collection archive, offering an intimate glance into the creative process of this renowned Creative Director. Sketches, colour charts, fabrics, videos, and garments bring to life his inspiration behind the Spring/Summer 2019 collection and celebrate the unique collaboration between Brătescu and Kriemler.

Albert Kriemler discovered the artist’s work at documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel in 2017, and was inspired by her bold use of colour, line, and relationship to paper. After meeting the artist in her studio in Bucharest in 2018, Kriemler remarked how ‘Geta’s feeling for selecting paper is very similar to how I select fabric. Fabric teaches me so much, and, like paper, it’s a beautiful material – it has a haptic quality.’ Their artistic collaboration for the Akris Spring / Summer 2019 collection was one of her last projects before she passed away on 19 September 2018. For Kriemler the purpose of Brătescu’s art is to bring joy to our lives. The garments on view are an homage to how she made playfulness a serious pursuit in art.

In her seven-decade career, Brătescu also published a number of books documenting her daily studio activities and personal experiences of art and travel. ‘Geta Brătescu: Game of Forms’ by Hauser & Wirth Publishers features important series from the past decade, during which time Brătescu focused predominantly on working with the line as a structuring principle. The carefully selected body of works included in the book is presented alongside excerpts from the artist’s diaries dating from 2008 to 2017. She writes, ‘When I draw, I tell a story about forms… To trace a line, a simple line, with the feeling and awareness that you are producing expression; that line is necessary to you beyond reason. To me, drawing is not simply a profession; it is the release of an intrinsic, structural energy, a joy.’ This is exemplified in the video work ‘The Gesture, The Drawing’ from 2018, on view as part of the presentation.

‘Geta Brătescu. The Gesture, The Drawing’
Hauser & Wirth Rämistrasse

Coinciding with the Hauser & Wirth Publishers presentation is ‘Geta Brătescu. The Gesture, The Drawing’ at the recently opened Hauser & Wirth Rämistrasse space. The carefully selected body of works in the exhibition render the different means in which Brătescu engaged the primordial unit of the line – in curved, hard-edged, contained or spread compositions. The artist would often draw with her eyes closed, connecting with pen and paper through the sensation of touch and feeling, as seen in the works from the series ‘Drawing With Eyes Closed’. For Brătescu, the line is manifest in the movement of the artist’s hand in space as it handles the pencil, the marker or the scissors, creating a flow of shapes, forms and silhouettes. As Brătescu explained, ‘No matter what tool I might use, when I draw and then examine my work, I think that the musicality of the line is in my nature. I liked to dance. When I draw, I can say that my hand dances.’

The presentations coincide with the major exhibition ‘Geta Brătescu – L'art c'est un jeu sérieux’ at Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (on view until 15 November 2020). This exhibition will then travel to GL Strand in Copenhagen in January 2021.

Brătescu originally studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Bucharest, in the late 1940s but was expelled due to the Communist party’s objection to her parents’ middle class background. Over the course of a sevendecade career she went on to develop a deeply personal practice and was one of the first representatives of conceptualist approaches in Romania. Brătescu’s oeuvre comprises drawing, collage, textiles, photography, experimental film and performance which mines themes of identity, gender, and dematerialisation. Her aesthetic – lo-fi, handmade, incorporating everyday materials – evolved from an attitude towards her studio as a safe environment of enclosure as well as a stage for playful invention. Her more recent international recognition, including her Venice Biennale presentation in 2017, provided a basis for the re-evaluation of her experimental work within the framework of conceptual practices.

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