curated by Sabine Schaschl and Eliza Lips
June 2 – September 11, 2022
During the summer months, Museum Haus Konstruktiv presents the largest solo exhibition on the work of Austrian-Swiss artist Elisabeth Wild ever seen in a Swiss museum. It features around two hundred collages that Wild (b. 1922 in Vienna, d. 2020 in Panajachel, Guatemala) created during her last twenty years, until shortly before her death.
For a long time, Elisabeth Wild’s artistic oeuvre went unnoticed. Born to a Jewish father in Vienna, she fled the Nazis in 1938 with her parents, who took her to Argentina, where she began studying painting in 1944 and worked as a textile designer. At the start of the 1960s, Argentina’s right-wing conservative politics prompted Wild to move to Basel with her daughter Vivian Suter and husband August Wild. In 1996, she returned to Latin America and settled in Panajachel, Guatemala.
There, Wild produced collages almost daily, cutting out material for them from fashion, art and architecture magazines. She assembled the selected paper fragments to make new abstract images, never larger than the page of the actual magazine used. She always took an intuitive and playful approach. With a keen sense of color, form, and composition, she created imaginative, sometimes enigmatic visual worlds: so-called fantasías. Using the collage technique, often positioning the paper cutouts in the image symmetrically, Wild generated new scenes that oscillated between reality and illusion, in which not only geometric shapes and architectural set pieces, but also seemingly surreal elements would appear.
These charming works on paper first began to attract more attention when they were shown in connection with Vivian Suter’s 2014 exhibition Intrépida at Kunsthalle Basel. Elisabeth Wild’s international breakthrough came in 2017, with her participation in documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.
1) Elisabeth Wild featuring Raúl Itamar Lima and Sophie Thun, curated by Adam Szymczyk, installation view, Karma International, Zurich, 2020. Photo: Annik Wetter
2) Elisabeth Wild, untitled, 2019, collage on paper, 23 x 16.5 cm, 9 1/8 x 6 1/2 in (WILD66590). Photo: ©Ed Mumford
3) Elisabeth Wild, untitled, 2019, collage on paper, 31 x 25 cm, 12 1/4 x 9 7/8 in (WILD66563). Photo: ©Ed Mumford