Migros Museum

The Garden of Forking Paths

02 May - 30 Oct 2011

© Fabian Marti
Heroic Dose, 2011
Plants, glass, steel, fired and glazed clay
250 x 300 x 400 cm
Stefan Altenburger Photographies, Zurich
Ein Skulpturenprojekt auf dem Hof der Familie Blum in Samstagern ZH
2. May 2011 – 30. October 2011

Pablo Bronstein – Liz Craft – Ida Ekblad – Geoffrey Farmer – Kerstin Kartscher – Ragnar Kjartansson – Fabian Marti – Peter Regli – Thiago Rocha Pitta

During the summer months, the migros museum für gegenwartskunst sculpture project “The Garden of Forking Paths” will be a guest on the Froh Ussicht estate, owned by the Blum family in Samstagern, Zurich. The project alludes to the Sacro Bosco in Bomarzo (Italy), the enchanted Renaissance garden, which features sculptures shrouded in mystery, and eccentric architecture that over time became overgrown (so-called “follies”). The invited artists will create their own fantastic narratives. The project title refers to a story by Argentinean novelist Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986), indicating the analogy between imagination and spatial structures, in which he described the labyrinth as possibly the most fundamental human experience. Entwined with the ideas from the enchanted garden of Sacro Bosco, the project yields a mythical, cerebral cosmos, in which the artists integrate their work in their own ways.

The garden as a primordial form of the confrontation with nature has always been a human preoccupation. Its design reflects each societal organisation in all its political, sociological and psychological aspects. Whether we talk of paradise itself, monastic implementation, the Baroque pleasure garden, post-Enlightenment primeval landscaping, the landscaped park, public parks or urban oases, the garden is a place of harvest, but also of contemplation, rendering peace and happiness. It bewitches the senses and serves the escapist desire to flee the world, while still remaining a material means for cultivation, ensuring the provision of real sustenance.
In 1522, Prince Orsini created the Sacro Bosco in Bomarzo, which symbolises an extreme in the conception of the garden: lacking any inherent function it exists as a locus of pure enchantment. These words greet its visitor: "When you enter here contemplate one by one and then tell me if so many wonders are affected by deception or simply through art." Round each corner are new fantastic figures of gods, animals, monsters and architectures that present a puzzle to be deciphered. In following the intricate paths the visitor opens up a story of human passions and follies. When Salvador Dalí visited the garden he declared it anticipated Surrealist art. The sculpture project The Garden of Forking Paths, refers back to the idea of such an enchanted garden full of “follies”, but in contradistinction to the Sacro Bosco, it is incorporated into a productive farming estate. This – in spite of its rational and economic logic – is often charged with romantic associations. It stands for a transfigured contemplation of origins, for authenticity and honesty, and provides the framework for this artistic confrontation with the garden and the “folly”.

The project has been split into two parts. Work by five artists will be presented on May 1, 2011: Pablo Bronstein, Liz Craft, Fabian Marti, Peter Regli, and Thiago Rocha Pitta.

Part 2 opens on Sunday, July 10, 2011, from 5pm - 9pm. In addition to the projects inaugurated on May 1, works by Ida Ekblad, Geoffrey Farmer, Kerstin Kartscher and Ragnar Kjartansson will be presented.

Curated by Heike Munder

Tags: Pablo Bronstein, Liz Craft, Salvador Dalí, Ida Ekblad, Geoffrey Farmer, Kerstin Kartscher, Ragnar Kjartansson, Fabian Marti, Heike Munder, Heike Munder, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Peter Regli