At the age of 50 Armand Schulthess (Neuchâtel 1901- Auressio 1972) quits his job as a federal officer in Bern and chooses as a geographic and mental exile place a country house in Auressio, Ticino. Isolating himself from the outside world, he dedicates the rest of his life to the planning of his property of 18’000m2. He builds a network paths and foot walks completed with perspectives and resting places. He hangs on the trees thousands of metal plates on which he has reproduce texts devoted to psychoanalysis, literature, astronomy and music. His garden becomes an open-air encyclopedia, a bucolic labyrinth which embodies his artistic, philosophic and scientific concerns. Upon his death in 1972 his heirs and the Ticino authorities decide to destroy his œuvre. Luckily some of his creations were saved by people who understood the importance of his outstanding project.
The exhibition creates a dialogue between Schultess’ mobile assemblages, painted metal plates, books of clippings, and collages and the photographs of Ingebord Lüscher, Gérald Minkoff and Hans-Ulrich Schlumpf, showing the artist immersed in his poetic environment. A unique filmic testimony, the documentary « Armand Schulthess . J’ai le téléphone » (1974) of H.-U. Schlumpf, is projected throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Armand Schulthess has created an inventive and rebel cosmogony which has fascinated several artists, writers and intellectuals such as Max Frisch and Corinna Bille, who wrote about him, as well as Harald Szeemann and Ingeborg Lüscher, who celebrated him in the Documenta of 1972.