“Gstaad is my homeland”

Tue, 10. Sep. 2019
Alex Hank and curator Ana Sokoloff in front of the artist’s favourite image: The Ballad of Max Jensen by Matthey Barney from 1999 (Sara Trailovic)

The artist Alex Hank has found his own personal home in Gstaad and has also co-financed the mirror house. His public exhibition, Heimat, is open in Saanen, and represents a high-calibre selection of contemporary art and works that have characterised his life.

The word Heimat doesn’t exist in English. The term can be translated as homeland but unlike its English translation describes not only a place but also a feeling, namely that of Geborgenheit. This is another specific German term. It loosely translates as a feeling of security but encompasses more complex connotations. In 2004, this word was chosen as the second most beautiful word in the German language.

So, how can we define Heimat or homeland? The Mexican artist, Alex Hank, gives his own personal response through 21 works from his modern art collection: “The exhibition has this title because I’ve found my home in Gstaad.” The exhibition is housed at the Tarmak 22 Gallery, a place for art and culture in Saanen.

Tarmak 22 – a cultural space
The gallery can be found in the Gstaad Airport hangar and was launched just two years ago by Antonia Crespi. She saw great potential in the building and its unique surroundings.

This exhibition is the third since the cultural space opened in 2018. A brief exhibition by Hauser & Wirth took place in the first year, followed by the official opening in 2019 with works by Andreas Gursky, well known for his photography in large format.

“Gstaad is my home”
Born in 1973 in Mexico, Hank has made a name for himself this century with his own artwork and has exhibited all over the world. As a teenager, he attended the Institut Le Rosey, but only for a term as he then went on to study in Paris and Mexico.

Apparently, Gstaad left a lasting impression on him. For the last year and a half, the artist has lived in Gstaad and has co-financed the mirror house Mirage Gstaad. “Gstaad is my home,” Hank explained. “When I arrived here as a foreigner, I had one or two contacts, but people openly included and accepted me for who I am.”

Works from 1910 to 2019
“The works have a strong personal meaning for Alex and are all related to the search for identity,” explains the curator of the exhibition, Ana Sokoloff, from the New York art agency Sokoloff and Associates. Visitors see their own reflection upon entering the gallery when they’re presented with their mirror image staring back at them from a cuboid standing two and a half metres tall. This is one of two works by the artist John McCracken. Sokoloff has skilfully played with light, objects and space for the exhibition.

The exhibition is an intimate selection of works that invite contemplation and individual interpretation through their abstract nature. They deal with themes of personal identity and possibly the concept of home for individuals. Even without this context, the works are worth seeing as they unite the work of revolutionary artists from this and the last century.

Based on AvS/Sara Trailovic
Translated by Justine Hewson


The exhibition Heimat is open until 15 November 2019 at Galerie Tarmak 22 at Gstaad Airport, Saanen.
Opening hours and further details: www.tarmak22.com

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