Ilse Weber (1908-1984) is an exceptional phenomenon and a unique figure in Swiss art history. She belongs to that generation of women artists, (Ilse Weber is a contemporary of Meret Oppenheim), for whom there was no typical schooling or professional development. After a rather tentative career start there followed, relatively late, the official recognition. Coming from a more or less melancholic late impressionism, the artist increasingly searched for the ascertainment of mental or visual images and set her heart on expressing “what she had never seen before”. When around 1970 a new generation of artists made themselves known, Ilse Weber all of a sudden moved to the centre of the current artistic discourse. This favourable moment had a stimulating effect on Ilse Weber’s work. A singular late work ensued (the artist was then already over 50 years old): her actual main work, in which she devoted herself entirely to a poetic subjectivity. Beside oil painting; drawing and watercolour now became very important. Her pictorial world moved about freely within a balance between the traditional subjects – still life, landscape, interior, and a dreamlike reality.
The last solo exhibition of Ilse Weber took place 1992 at the Art Museum Zürich (Kunsthaus Zürich). The exhibition at the Art Museum Graubünden is only the second major exhibition of the artist in an art museum, although Ilse Weber is represented in many public and private collections and is now as before highly valued especially by artists.
The Art Museum Graubünden aspires to give a representative overview of Ilse Weber’s work from her artistic breakthrough 1960 up until her death 1984. In eight chapters a new reading of this work is attempted in the exhibition as well as in the accompanying book. Alongside texts by Stephan Kunz, Elisabeth Bronfen, and Romina Ebenhöch,¬¬ Ilse Weber’s great relevance for recent Swiss art is expressed in a conversation with the artists Silvia Bächli and Rolf Winnewisser.
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