Vivian Suter with Elisabeth Wild

La Canícula


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

CURATOR: NABILA ABDEL NABI

Vivian Suter’s works are partnerships; with the mud, rain, insects that crawl across the soil and the avocados and mangos that drop from the trees surrounding her home in Panajachel, Guatemala. These elements and more work in concert with Suter’s own marks upon the canvas, which are inspired by her remarkable natural surroundings: since 1983, Suter has lived on the site of a former coffee plantation along the shores of Lake Atitlán, itself nestled in-between a ring of sweeping, verdant hills and volcanoes. When Hurricane Stan (2005) and Tropical Storm Agatha (2010) flooded her studio and left watermarks across all her canvases, the artist began to embrace the unpredictability of her natural surroundings. Since then, Suter has moved her canvases between the indoors and outdoors, allowing the constantly changing weather to commingle with her process. By layering broad swaths of vivid colour on raw canvas to create gestural forms, Suter evokes the wildness and luminosity of her adopted home. In this way, her paintings operate both as references to and direct traces of their environment.

The exhibition will also feature newly commissioned collages by Suter’s mother, Elisabeth Wild, who, like Suter, is also making her Canadian debut. Around twenty years ago, Wild bought an extension of her daughter’s coffee plantation in Panajachel and has been living near Lake Atitlán since. Wild has worked in several media over the years, but collage-making has become her primary medium. The act of cutting and reassembling from the pages of glossy magazines is a daily meditative exercise for the artist, in which she formulates new landscapes and iconographies—what she calls Fantasías. These works are self-contained universes, operating in the realm of Surrealism by drawing from the natural world without referring to it.

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).


View Vivian Suter's Artist Talk by Stefan Benchoam