With globally acclaimed art fairs, such as Art Basel
, taking place in Switzerland
, Swiss contemporary art has attracted substantial attention in recent years. The best place to see it evolve is in the cultural capital, Geneva. In addition to collaborative art spaces and studios such as the Kugler Factory
, or artists’ collectives that promote and support talent from local to Iranian artists
, Geneva is home to a number of exciting independent galleries, including these ten gems.
Centre d’Art Contemporain
The perfect example of a Kunsthalle, the Centre d’Art Contemporain doesn’t hold a permanent collection. Instead, it displays temporary exhibitions by an eclectic range of artists, from the acclaimed Joseph Beuys and Gilbert & George to lesser-known, promising young talent. An all-round cultural institution, the Centre both produces and displays art, offering its artists a space for creative experimentation and the freedom to work in a forward-thinking, open-minded environment. Recent shows have included ambitious and creative projects by emerging artists, such as Pablo Bronstein’s modern architectural drawings – which combine tradition with contemporaneity – and Nelly Haliti’s 3 moments, an exhibit that brought together photography, video, and installation art. A program of talks and performances accompanies most exhibitions, revealing the Centre’s focus on education and public dialogue.
Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, 10 rue des Vieux-Grenadiers, Geneva, Switzerland, + 41 223 291 842
Characterized by a decisive focus on photography, sculpture, and painting, Frank Pages is committed to discovering and exhibiting new artists who work with those media. An open and welcoming art space, it combines excellent curation with a solid selection of vibrant artworks from a host of international artists. Those represented by Frank Pages demonstrate the gallery’s comprehensive outlook, as they range from Chinese painter Gao Xingjian, who works with ink on rice paper, to French mixed media artist Vincent Edmond Louis, and Bruno Vautrelle, whose photography is both harmonious and unsettling. With another space open in Baden-Baden, Germany, Frank Pages Gallery is active on the international art scene and regularly takes part in acclaimed art fairs, such as Scope Miami, Art14 London, and Art Stage Singapore.
Frank Pages, Grand Rue 2, Geneva, Switzerland, +41 767 422 784
A regular at art fairs such as Art Basel and the Armory Show NY, Skopia arrived in Geneva in 1994 with the distinct mission of promoting Swiss artists. Now, with an international roster of contemporary artists ranging from Swiss painter Silvia Bächli to Russian-born Erik Bulatov, Skopia prides itself on excellent curation and originality – its frequent premiere shows are certainly part of the reason for the gallery’s resounding success on Geneva’s art scene. Ambitious and eager to show works across a range of different media, Skopia has recently exhibited the haunting, black and white works of Alain Huck, the thought-provoking installations of Jérémy Chevalier, as well as a series of acrylic paintings by Swiss artist Pierre Schwerzmann.
Skopia Art Contemporain, 9 Vieux-Grenadiers, Geneva, Switzerland, +41 223 216 161
Blancpain opened in the Quartier des Bains, Geneva’s art district, in 2006. Although it exhibits an impressive array of media and styles, the gallery specializes in promoting up-and-coming artists, such as Jérôme Leuba and his ‘living artworks’, or Robert Currie, whose elusive sculptures explore the nuance of symmetry and space. The exhibition program also allows for a free and engaging dialogue between styles and artworks, as shows often feature the creations of more than one artist, or follow each other closely in a critical juxtaposition. Fittingly, Blancpain pushes this dialogue further by interweaving the new and the established, as works by respected artists such as Peter Hutchinson and Eric Poitevin regularly grace its whitewashed space.
Blancpain Art Contemporain, 63 rue des Maraîchers, Genève, Switzerland, +41 223 283 802
SAKS’ owners Sibylle Axarlis Rochat and Kristin Stein have gained their curatorial experience in galleries across Paris and New York, before deciding to establish their own art space in Geneva in 2008. This young, passionate gallery represents Swiss and international artists and organizes exhibitions that surprise and challenge the viewer. Each new show leaves much room for interpretation as it combines aesthetic value with a heavy dose of provocation – recent examples include Christian Gozenbach’s statues made from aluminum , or German artist Chris Succo’s immersive, monochrome oil-and-lacquer paintings. Both solo and collective exhibitions feature in SAKS gallery’s active schedule, which presents several shows throughout the year.
SAKS gallery, Sibylle Rochat & Kristin Stein, 34 rue de la Synagogue, Genève, Switzerland, +41 223 101 144
Galerie Sébastien Bertrand
Galerie Sébastien Bertrand’s program focuses on representing emerging and established artists, who create works that are both stimulating and challenging. Among them are installation artist Tom Fruin, whose mosaic structures have gained him worldwide acclaim, South African painter Mustafa Maluka and his vibrant, thought-provoking portraits, and Storm Tharp’s haunting drawings. Galerie Bertrand is located in an industrial space just a few steps away from Geneva’s harbor.
Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Rue du Simplon 16, Geneva, Switzerland, +41 227 005 151
Halle Nord defines itself as a space that is ‘part-art center and part-gallery’. Appropriately so, since this gallery – run by an artists’ association – collaborates with other cultural institutions in Geneva and local artists to organize shows characterized by experimentation and aesthetic freedom. All exhibitions share a profound dedication to educating the public and feature a carefully constructed program of talks that seeks to elaborate the displayed artworks. From video and light installations to photography, sculpture, and painting, Halle Nord’s exhibitions invariably explore the conceptual background of art, as well as its fluid boundaries.
Halle Nord, 1 place de l’Ile, Geneva, Switzerland
Founded in 2010 by Stephane Ribordy, this forward-looking art space is a small project with great ambition. Despite its young age, Ribordy has already participated in various art fairs around the globe, including Viennafair, NADA NY, Miami Beach, and ArtGenève, which have given it an international outlook. Displayed works range from installations to paintings, from the vaguely political to the distinctly metaphysical, and bring together an eclectic range of artists, including Ryan Foerster – a Canadian-born mixed media artist – and Mathis Gasser, whose socially provocative works have garnered much acclaim throughout Europe. Part of Geneva’s Quartier des Bains arts association, Ribordy is an exciting art space to watch, and a great example of how selective curation can go hand-in-hand with daring choices.
Ribordy Contemporary, Boulevard d’Yvoy 7b, Geneva, Switzerland, +41 223 217 563
Forde at L’Usine
Since its launch in 1994, Forde has chosen a new curatorial team every two years, guaranteeing its visitors an outlook that is consistently fresh and varied. Its location in the Usine, a collaborative and multi-functional art and culture space, allows for a program that includes films, performances, and music events as well as exhibits. Artistic freedom is evident here, as exhibitions often explore niche or previously unseen subjects. Recent examples include Post Mortem, a show of funerary art, or Eat This, a very temporary exhibition, during which consumable artworks were offered to the public. Surprising and progressive, Forde is a great place for art lovers looking for a slice of Geneva’s alternative art scene.
Forde, 11 rue de la Coulouvrenière, Geneva, Switzerland, +41 223 216 822
Centre de la Photographie
Museum, Art Gallery
Centre de la Photographie
Geneva’s most authoritative voice on contemporary photography, Centre de la Photographie occupies a prime location on the city’s art scene, both figuratively and geographically – it is neighbors with the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Centre d’Art Contemporain. Launched in 1984 by a group of photographers in search of a place to display their work, the Centre initially exhibited a mix of 19th- and 20th-century photographs, only to shift towards contemporary and documentary photography in the late 1990s. Now home to several exhibitions every year, the Centre is particularly interested in hosting regional talents – such as Dorothée Baumann or Patrick Weidmann – as well as collective, themed exhibitions, from GDR photography to the doubtful trustworthiness of photography as a medium. The Centre is also home to the acclaimed 50 JPG, a photography triennial, which brings together a number of Geneva-based galleries in the city’s largest photography festival.
Centre de la Photographie Genève, 28 rue des Bains, Geneva, Switzerland, + 41 22 329 28 35