Vivian Suter with Elisabeth Wild

La Canícula

The Power Plant presents Vivian Suter's first exhibition in Canada.


Vivian Suter’s works are partnerships; with the mud, with the rain, with the insects that crawl across the soil and the avocados and mangos that drop from trees surrounding her home in Panajachel, Guatemala. These elements and more work in concert with Suter’s own marks upon the canvas, which are often inspired by her remarkable natural surroundings– the lush vegetation, the lake and the volcanoes. Since 1983, Suter has lived on the site of a former coffee plantation along the shores of Lake Atitlán. The artist began to embrace the unpredictability of nature when her studio was flooded by Hurricane Stan in 2005 and Tropical Storm Agatha in 2010, leaving watermarks across all her canvases. Since then, Suter’s method often involves moving her canvases between the indoors and outdoors, exposing them to the climate to be completed by nature or simply allow it to comingle with her process, which involves layering broad swaths of vivid colour in gestural compositions recalling the wildness of her surroundings. Her works operate both as references and direct traces of their environment and her practice, which is accepting of the forces of nature, resonates in a world that seems both overly determined and yet ever more precarious.

For her first exhibition in Canada, Suter will create an expansive site-specific installation that references the organic modes of hanging and draping of the canvases in her studio, which are often stretched and then un-stretched and layered on racks to dry.

This exhibition will also feature newly commissioned collages by Suter’s mother, Elisabeth Wild, who is also making her Canadian debut. Twenty-two years ago Wild also bought an extension of the coffee plantation in Panajachel to build her house and studio alongside her daughter’s, and has been living in Lake Atitlán since. Wild has worked in several media over the years, but collage-making has become her primary medium. This has become a daily meditative exercise in which the artist cuts and reassembles from the pages of magazines to formulate new landscapes and iconographies.

Vivian Suter (born 1949, Buenos Aires) grew up in Switzerland, and has lived and worked by Lake Atitlán in Guatemala since the early 1980s. She recently participated in documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany, La Gran Bienal Tropical 2 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (where the jury awarded her a Golden Pineapple), as well as the 31 Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil. Her recent solo and two- person shows exhibitions include The Wind, The Rain, The Volcanoes, The Jewish Museum, NY, USA (2017); and, Lejos, House of Gaga, Mexico City, Mexico (2015).

Elisabeth Wild (born 1922, Vienna) lives and works in Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Although she is best known for her collages made out of magazine cutouts, her works have ranged in a variety of mediums and formats over the years, which include painting, drawing, ceramics, jewelry, and industrial design. Her recent solo and two-person shows exhibitions include Fantasía, NuMu, Guatemala city (2017). She has participated in numerous group shows exhibitions including at The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, USA; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico; and Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San Jose, Costa Rica. At 96 years of age, she recently participated in documenta 14 in Athens, Greece, and Kassel, Germany.

Vivian Suter and Elisabeth Wild have exhibited together in several exhibitions including Brotan claveles las solapas, Museo El ECO, Mexico City, Mexico (2017); Vivian Suter and Elisabeth Wild, Karma International, Los Angeles, USA (2017); Monstera Deliciosa, Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City, Guatemala (2016); Panajachel, The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, USA (2015); and Intrépida, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2014), Fantasías 2, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2014).