3 parts: each 41 x 162 x 80 cm
Formica, artificial fur, acrylic glass, metal, vinyl
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Das Progressive Museum Basel
3 Hütten [3 Huts]
The floor piece “3 Hütten” from 1968/1969 is a characteristic example of the Pop Art phase of the artist Markus Raetz (born 1941 in Büren an der Aare, Switzerland, died 2020 in Bern, Switzerland). Although Raetz is more known for his poetic interpretations of perceptual phenomena, including anamorphosis, he is also regarded as one of the most important representatives of Pop art in Switzerland. After working as a primary school teacher for two years, in 1963 he decided to pursue a career as a freelance artist and moved to Bern, where he found an open-minded and internationally connected art scene. When Harald Szeemann became the director of the Kunsthalle Bern in 1961, he transformed it into a hotspot of contemporary art movements and organized exhibitions of the international avant-garde. His broad understanding of art inspired many young Swiss artists like Raetz to indulge in artistic experiments. Around 1965, Raetz began using wooden blades painted white to create reliefs and objects in which pure geometric forms mix with Pop Art elements. Szeemann showed these works in the exhibition “Weiss in Weiss” in Kunsthalle Bern in 1966, after which Felix Baumann featured them in “Wege und Experimente. 30 Schweizer Künstler” in the Kunsthaus Zurich in 1968. In 1968/69, Raetz created a group of works consisting of geometric objects made of rubber and iron that belonged more to Conceptual Art than Pop Art. When the art historian Dieter Koepplin saw these works in Szeemann’s seminal exhibition “Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form“ in 1969, he described them as having a “flattering gentleness and irony” and as seeming to suggest a kind of “sleep state.” This may also seem true for the work “3 Hütten,” although it is clearly a work of Pop Art. The wavy form and the fake fur, acrylic glass, and vinyl of the three pieces could at first be understood as references to tastes in fashion and design at the time the work was made, yet this group of three objects, which are identical in form and size but not in color and materials, rather demonstrates the artist’s fundamental theme of how such effects are able to influence our perception.