Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana – sede Palazzo Reali
Curated by Francesca Benini and Arianna Quaglio.
The exhibition presents the work and life story of an artist who boasted a solid theoretical background and found favourable conditions in Ticino to apply that and develop her own practice. Hedi Mertens (Gossau, 1893 - Carona, 1982) had a somewhat non-linear career which got off the ground at an advanced age. Yet in just over twenty years the classically-trained artist developed a personal practice worthy of note in the field of Swiss concrete art. The exhibition at MASI Lugano traces the stages in the career of this artist, who is little known to the general public, highlighting her compositional work and how she processed the theories she assimilated in intensive exchanges of ideas with the artists and intellectuals involved in the world of abstract and concrete art. This connection is traced in the show, with a number of key works by the four main exponents of Zurich concrete art: Max Bill, Camille Graeser and Verena Loewensberg as well as Richard Paul Lohse. The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual catalogue (Italian/German).
The exhibition is realised in collaboration with the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich.
Hedi Mertens studied painting in Zurich in 1912 as a pupil of the painter Wilhelm Hummel, then attended the Debschitz School in Munich and later the classes of the painter Stanislaus Stückgold. After an initial expressionist painting activity, interrupted by a long pause, she moved to Ticino in the early 1950s, where she started her own constructive-concrete research in 1960.
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