Vernissage in Uster: insights into the works and work of Maya Lalive at foryouandyourcustomers
The initially planned vernissage of the Swiss artist Maya Lalive had to be cancelled in March of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. So when the exhibition was at long last officially opened in the offices of foryouandyourcustomers Uster, the joy was immense – not just for the artist, but also for the curator, employees, art lovers, friends and customers of foryouandyourcustomers.
‘We have been enjoying Maya Lalive’s numerous, fascinating and diverse artistic works in our offices for several months now. And today, we are finally able to share this ambience with you,’ said Andreas Meier, head of the Uster offices, as he welcomed the guests in the office premises of foryouandyourcustomers in Weiherallee in the early evening.
‘It is enriching to enjoy the works in an environment that does not regard art as mere decoration, but promotes and cultivates it as a fundamental part of corporate culture.’
Ensuring the safety of the visitors at the vernissage was a central topic when planning the event. In three phases and divided into small groups, the guests were introduced to the work of Maya Lalive by the organiser, the artist herself and the curator. Although limited in time, this provided visitors with sufficient space in an atmospheric setting and an entertaining atmosphere to get an overview of the Swiss artist’s work, to exchange ideas with the artist and other guests over a good glass of wine, and to engage with the art for a while. The intention is to enjoy these works in an environment ‘that does not regard art as mere decoration, but promotes and cultivates it as a fundamental part of the corporate culture, as an enrichment for employees, customers and visitors of foryouandyourcustomers’ – this is how curator Guido Baumgartner aptly described the aim of the exhibition in his speech.
Maya Lalive’s solo exhibition presents a wide spectrum of her works from different creative phases. With their high ceilings, open-plan layout and light-flooded rooms, the office premises showcase the works uniting Maya Lalive’s early artistic period – her ‘Unknown Soulscapes’ series, in which painting stood in the foreground – and works from the ‘Unknown Landscapes’ series comprising digital photographs that are applied to different media and diverse materials. Both phases share the mutual subject of nature or motifs that are close to nature.
A main focus of her work is the depiction of lichens. ‘Lichens are fascinating and enduring creatures,’ Maya Lalive explains. ‘They are a mixture of living beings and plants and have a symbiotic relationship: the fungi could not survive there on their own, nor could the algae or bacteria, but together they can create something new – something much more resistant and durable, because lichens can live for 4,000 years and more. And I think this is something that should be taught, not least nowadays – that something can only arise on the basis of cooperation and not from opposition. You have to find a balance and equilibrium together in order to survive.’
Maya Lalive’s passion for nature and her work with digital photography while rock climbing also formed the starting point for her monumental installation Der Riss/La fessura at the Albigna dam in Bergell, 2016, which prompted great international response. This temporary work was captured in the film Nah am Riss in a cinematic approach that is both artistic and documentary, interpreting the crack as an elementary force of nature on various levels.
Based on a close examination of the existing premises and the corporate culture of foryouandyourcustomers, Maya Lalive positions her artworks in the rooms, hangs them on the walls or from the ceiling, thus creating an extraordinary exhibition – art in office spaces: inviting, inspiring and prompting discussion, just as the artist intended.
The exhibition, curated by Guido Baumgartner, can be visited at the Uster site until June 2021 by arranging an appointment on +41 (0)44 2104 477.