Denise Bertschi at the Getty Research Institute

June 3, 2019

The Getty Research Institute — a center for scholarly research — will host a Swiss artist for a research residency lasting 4 weeks, from July 22 to August 23, 2019. Denise Bertschi will dive into an in-depth exploration of Harald Szeemann’s archive, which has its origins in Switzerland.

Bertschi’s main research goal in this massive collection of archival research file, is ‘to chase the spirit of Szeemann’s highly intelligent and subtle strategies to create controversially discussed exhibitions, unsettling multi-layered discourses, that speak not only to the individual but also to broader societal co-inhabited spaces of community or even nation-states.’ She will present her ongoing research and possible outcome during the course of her residency.

Pro Helvetia, swissnex San Francisco and the Getty Research Institute have collaborated to make this pilot possible. 

Harald Szeemann Archive and Library

As the largest single archival collection ever acquired by the Getty Research Institute, the Harald Szeemann Archive and Library is an essential resource for the study of 20th century art history. The Harald Szeemann Archive and Library contains a comprehensive record of Szeemann’s correspondence with major artists, curators, and scholars from the late 1950s until his death in 2005, as well as significant collections of material from the early 20th century.

The archive encompasses approximately 1,500 feet of archival research files, containing letters, ephemera, prints, drawings, floor plans, date books, videotapes, and a complete photographic record documenting Szeemann’s projects and the artists with whom he was associated. Additionally, the collection includes Szeemann’s extensive library, which comprises rare monographs, artists’ books, and limited edition publications, as well as specialized collections on topics ranging from anarchism, science fiction, and pataphysics to several lesser-known artistic movements.

Denise Bertschi

Denise Bertschi, Photo credit: Renata LarroydDenise Bertschi lives and works in Switzerland. Her artistic research-based practice is reflected in video-installations, photographs and the format of publications. Building on the materials she collects, in archives and elsewhere, she develops her own forms of narrative, in which the documentary – traditionally understood as a pure representation of reality – begins to dissolve. Bertschi has been dedicating herself since several years to unmask Switzerland’s political neutrality as an impossible balancing act. Meanwhile, she examines how national identities are created through collective memories and cultural myths. Within this matrix she searches for that which is hidden, secret, overlooked and repressed, presented with their discoveries in subtle works.

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Photo: The Getty – Geometry, by Ian D. Keating, CC BY via Flickr.