Les anciens abattoirs
Rue du Commerce 122
2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds (CH)
|19 Aug 2022 – 16 Oct 2022|
Klarwelt der Seligen” is the masterpiece of Elisàr von Kupffer (aka Elisarion: 1872-1942), a timeless work painted between 1923 and 1929. This 26-metre-long panoramic fresco celebrates the diversity of gender identities and sexual orientations by exposing more than 80 male figures in 33 specific scenes, intertwined within an overall representation of paradise. Saved from destruction by the Swiss curator Harald Szeemann around 1976, the work has been restored and exhibited at Monte Verità (TI) since 2021. It is now a major work of Ticino and Swiss heritage.
The exhibition at Quartier Général – entitled “Le monde clair des bienheureux.se.x.s” (The clear world of the blessed) – emerges from the collective re-appropriation of this remarkable work by painters who are recognised in the world of European figurative painting. His reclamation of his homosexuality, his precursory anchoring in current socio-political concerns and his reflections on gender testify to the modest but essential role played by Elisarion in the history of the struggle led by the LGBTQI+ community for several years. He is, moreover, deliberately considered by some as one of the pioneers of the Queer movement. The exhibition is therefore also built to pay tribute to this painter by supporting his struggle and to crystallize the openings to the possible.
The specificity of this reappropriation is mainly based on the methodology adopted in the overall creative process. Indeed, each artist was assigned one of the 33 scenes that make up the work, in a 1:1 scale format. Without knowing the reference artist or receiving a reproduction of the original work, the guest painters work on the basis of a detailed written presentation of their scene. Each element of the setting, each position of the bodies is carefully described; only the gender and sexual orientation of the figures represented remain undetermined, thanks to the use of inclusive writing. Moreover, the parity between the male and female artists is fully respected, which allows for a wider constellation of points of view. On the basis of this observation, and contrary to the original work, it is highly likely that “Le monde clair des bienheureux.ses.x”, exhibited at Quartier Général, is not only populated by young men!