DENISE BERTSCHI (CH, 1983)
Residency period: September – November 2021
At La Becque, Bertschi seeked to establish an interconnected cartography of Lake Geneva, linking the beauty of the natural landscape and the built environment with the commodity trading that has taken place there since the 19th century. Eucalyptus, gold, cocoa: the exploitation of these products is historically linked to the Lake Geneva region, where many multinationals are established and regulate the flow of these goods. Through video sequences and performative walks, her project Where is Lacus Lemanus? investigated the various places that bear witness to Switzerland’s ecological footprint around the world.
Denise Bertschi revisits recent historical events to critically question Switzerland’s relationship with the rest of the world. She traces a global perspective on Switzerland’s extra-territorial footprint – economically, socially, and ecologically.
Her work unmasks Switzerland’s neutrality as an “agent” in its economic and quasi-imperialist expansion in the world, through collective memories and cultural myths. Architecture, landscapes and materiality become lenses to map the “capitalocene” (see Jason Moore) of capitalist extractivism and commodity trade.
Within this matrix she searches for that which is hidden, secret, overlooked and repressed, and she presents these discoveries in subtle bodies of work through extensive video installations, archival material, photographs and publications.
Bertschi won the Manor Art Prize in 2020 and was the subject of an exhibition at the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau and ALTEFABRIK in Rapperswil.