ART SEEN - Jacques Berger
Uli Van Neyghem tells us about the charming exhibition in Pully of the work of Jacques Berger: A Swiss painter who refused to be put into boxes.
Image: Uli Van Neyghem enjoys the view from outside the museum.
In an intimate retrospective the Musée d'Art de Pully captures the pure and naked gestures of Swiss artist Jaques Berger, who was born in Villeneuve in 1902 and died in 1977 in Lausanne.
The young Jaques Berger painted abstract, surreal or cubist paintings in this region, when the local population was far from ready for such modernist approach. Being laughed at or ridiculed did not stop the artist to keep on exploring new ways and media to express himself.
But when he felt that he was at a dead end with his explorations into the world of abstraction, he undertook an artistic shift and returned to the figurative in 1936. Although his abstract works had begun to find appreciation at this point and he was invited to participate in all major national art exhibitions, the newly figurative style in muted colours, showing still lifes or circus scenes for example, was received with a lot more interest by the local public.
His decision was however not based on commercial considerations, but the strong impulse to avoid repetition.
Rather than seeing himself belonging to a particular movement, Berger constantly searched for new visual interpretations and solutions.
Yet again making a creative U-turn by returning to abstraction in the 1950s, Berger once more assumed the role of a pioneer in the French speaking part of Switzerland.
After developing an allergy to turpentine, making working with oil paints impossible, he turned to glue bound distemper (paint made of water, chalk and pigment, bound with an animal source glue), giving his works from that period a unique pastel coloured feel. In this second abstract period he also teaches at the Ecole des Beaux Art in Lausanne (Lausanne Fine Arts School), an institution he had left for a more modernist approach as a pupil, because he had considered it as too stuffy and dusty.
In the last years of his career, Berger launches himself into yet another creative adventure: Lithography. A medium that perfectly enhances his ability to express himself with a few pure and naked gestures. The exhibition shows not only prints on paper, but probably even more beautiful, a collection of original lithographic lime stones.
Don't miss this interesting exhibition highlighting the work of an artist who continuously reinvented his art.
The small art museum is housed in two beautifully renovated town houses in the centre of Pully's picturesque old town, with breathtaking views over Lake Geneva and a region that has been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. What are you waiting for?
What: Jaques Berger 'Le geste nu' (The naked gesture)
Where: Musée d'Art de Pully, Chemin Davel 2, CH-1009 Pully
When: Until March 17, 2019
Opening times: Tues - Fri 14:00-18:00, Sat - Sunday 11:00-18:00, closed on Monday
Entry fees: CHF 10- , CHF 8- for seniors, students, etc (under 16s go free)