4 September 2021 – 9 January 2022
The 2021 programme of temporary exhibitions at the Fondazione Ghisla Art Collection in Locarno concludes with a personal showing by Pierre Casè. Born in Vallemaggia, he is amongst the most significant contemporary Swiss artists of the past 40 years. Deeply committed to artistic mediation and divulgation, he has held leading positions in his own canton and in his country. Amongst his numerous commitments, some of the most distinguished include his role as National President of the SPSAS (Association of Swiss Painters, Sculptors and Architects) from 1987 to 1993 and that of artistic director of the Casa Rusca Gallery in Locarno from 1989 to 2000. From 2001 onwards his work has focused entirely on his artistic output.

Entitled “EX VOTO” and curated by the artist himself, this exhibition brings together over 400 works and is accurately based on his artistic creation over recent years. It is an exhibition that develops the themes dear to him, marked by the serial element that often distinguishes Pierre Casè’s works and concentrating, as in the past, on profound research on the theme.

The route through the exhibition, comprises 14 series each consisting of 30 works in close dialogue with one another, in which the artist narrates in his typically material-based mode of expression a custom that was deeply rooted in our territory until the recent past. The EX VOTOS, pictorial works that bear witness to a strong and popular artistic tradition expressing gratitude to the gods for having escaped danger or overcome a difficulty, are skilfully transformed by Casè into a vehicle that succeeds in handing down the memory of objects and activities belonging to our ancestors. These are objects directly linked to a material culture and transformed into a narration that manages to create interesting correspondences between past and present and provide visitors with ample food for thought.

Iron, fire, tar, mineral colours and metal wire are the elements the artist mixes with the objects on which each series is based. A combination that speaks of the territory so dear to Casè, Val Maggia, whose mountains and rivers have always forged the key and provided the language for the work of this eclectic Swiss artist.
This is an exhibition composed by a powerful artistic gesture that creates new correlations and dialogues, where memory that tends to be cancelled out by the passing of time is safeguarded, becoming a civil and ethical act rooted in a sense of profound responsibility towards future generations. The harmonious voice of the activities depicted yields new correspondences and conveys the sensation that we are standing before the sacred in the midst of the profane. In times where the symbolic dimension is gradually being replaced by barren functionality, in his works Casè provides inspiration for making peace with the soul, inviting us to regain the fundamental calm that serves to examine the world in a usefully detached way.