Roger von Gunten, reveals his intimate trace


Mexico.-The most intimate facet of the visual artist Roger von Gunten (Switzerland, 1933) is exhibited from yesterday until May 26 in the exhibition line freedom at the Center for Exploration and Critical Thinking (CEX) of the Universidad Iberoamericana, located at Avenida Revolución 1291, with just over thirty drawings, exhibited for the first time, which come from the artist’s personal archive.

It is a punctual selection of several years, which gives me great pleasure to be able to exhibit in such an interesting place”, he told Excelsior the visual artist. “We know that many times the drawing is seen as a sketch or that it can be the sketch for a painting or another piece in another technique, but at the same time it is about pieces that have a certain independence.

These drawings, he added, “are something very intimate in my work, something that requires great poetic precision to convey its message, since it is not as realistic as a painting. I really like the character of the framework that the line has and my work consists of different elements, such as color, composition, shape and invoice”.

Do you keep all your drawings? “I keep a lot of them, because I consider them something autonomous. However, they are thrown away or completed and when I think there is no remedy… I throw them away. There is no point in saving unsuccessful drawings. I currently have just over three thousand saved.

How do you face the blank surface? “I think it can be defined in terms of graphic design, it is an aesthetic subdivision. As a painter and as a draftsman one sees the surface on which he draws as the pictorial space, it is a space and not a surface. The drawing is something simple. It is a paper intervened with charcoal, a pencil or a pen, it is something very spontaneous that does not need great preparation, but what one generates to express can be captured.

It may sound corny, but drawing also requires a certain inspiration from music and the muse, and the way the days are, I enjoy drawing these days that are a bit incompatible, but I draw as a necessity.”

Are you referring to the lockdown? “Yes, because of the whole situation of the confinement, of the distrust that exists, of the danger and the fear. This is all a bit sinister, but the important thing is not to lose heart.”

He explained that yesterday he also opened an exhibition at the Cultural Institute of the Mexican Embassy in France. “Is named sirensan unusual word that has to do with the sirens that appear in my work”, he pointed out.

Have you thought about the destination that will give it to your archive and to the work you preserve? “I think that is the problem of all artists. What to do with our work? But, just as music is to be heard, paintings are to be seen and not kept in folders or warehouses, but we still don’t know what’s going to happen.”


For his part, the curator of the exhibition, Miguel Ángel Ortiz, highlighted that “the exhibition relates drawing as a fundamental part of the master’s work, which is little known, but which is very important for the process of his work”, he explained.

And he added: “We are going to be able to be close to these drawings that are from various eras; it is a small space, but we can have a view of the plastic thought axis of it. It is worth mentioning that these drawings have paintings as a complement, works on paper that are also the classic works of Roger von Gunten that are structured from color”.

The teacher comments that he wants to share the experience, so these works were selected in that sense, that the evidence of this drawing work be very direct, since in these pieces he never loses his infrastructure of color.

He recalled that in February 2020, an exhibition was opened at the Andrea Pozo Gallery of the Universidad Iberoamericana with the work of von Gunten, which was closed due to the pandemic.

In this sample, the piece Quetzalcoatl…” –a collective screen made up of 14 elements and 28 works by artists, such as José Luis Cuevas and Joy Laville–, made on purpose of the problems that the teacher faced with Televisa”, which led to a payment with work and the sale of his studio .


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