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ART SEEN - AQUA exhibition at the Château de Penthes

Mid Morning Mix// ART SEEN // Art & Culture // April 26, 2017

Uli Van Neyghem is a local artist in the Lake Geneva region. This week she's been off to the Château de Penthes to the AQUA exhibition. Here's her review and hot tips as she joins Katt Cullen on the Mid Morning Mix. 

AQUA: An essential element for life inspires artists from around the world

By Uli Van Neyghem

Especially on a sunny day, the Domaine de Penthes with its beautiful park and gorgeous views on the lake and the Alps is worth a visit on its own. Wander the meandering paths, sit on a bench in the sun or enjoy the shade of the old trees. You could even bring a picnic for before or after the exhibition, it would be hard to find a more perfect place. There is also a nice, if pricey, restaurant on the premises.

While you explore the park, you will already stumble upon a few works of art that are part of the AQUA exhibition, like for example a collection of military helmets, turned upside down (to collect the rain during the course of the exhibition). Artist Marcelo Maloberti thus transforms them from an element of conflict to a symbol of preserving life and rebirth. Another of the 'open air' exhibits, by artist Stefano Boccalini, consists of huge letters, forming the words PUBLIC and PRIVATE, pointing to the enormous problematic of water rights. 

The exhibition AQUA is a project organised by the NGO ART for the World, founded to raise awareness on essential issues of our times through contemporary art. From Geneva, AQUA will go on a world tour, traveling the continents. The exhibition assembles the works of 32 international contemporary artists and film makers, each approaching the subject from a unique angle and in their own individual language of art. 

Omar Ba, an artist living and working in Geneva, whose unique art works on carton boxes I admired at the Art Genève not long ago, used the medium of filmmaking for this exhibition, to highlight the problems, resulting from poor water management in his country of birth, the Senegal. 

Another film made by Nigol Bezjian, an artist born in Aleppo, Syria takes us on a journey into the world of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and their dire situation dealing with water in their everyday life. 

Swiss artist Sylvie Defraoui, enlarges press photographs of water-related disasters, such as flooding, to the point of loss of resolution and superposes them with beautiful flowers, resulting in the press photographs becoming abstracted backgrounds of a haunting beauty.

Though I couldn't list all the unique works of art that the visitors are able to discover in the exhibition, I would like to mention one more, that I personally found most impressing: A monumental painting of ink on canvas, by Italian artist Andrea Marescalchi, playing with soft shades of grey. The painting shows the image of an ape observing its reflection in a mirror; a mirror of water.


AQUA wants to emphasize our collective responsibility about the role and use of water in today's world. Water management is essential to the conservation of our environment and the future of our planet. Water is at the centre of climate change and resulting consequences, as well as a source of potential conflict.

Don't miss this fascinating exhibition, looking at one of the major challenges of our times through the eyes of artists from all around the world.

Practical Details:

  • Where:                    Château de Penthes
  •                                 Domaine des Penthes
  •                                 18, Chemin de l'Impératrice
  •                                 CH - 1292 Pregny-Chambésy
  • When:                      Until May 31, 2017 
  • Opening hours:      Tuesday - Sunday 
  •                                 13:00 - 18:00
  • Entry Fees:              Adults CHF 10 (Children, Students, Groups etc: CHF 6)

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