top of page

85 women artists from central Switzerland show their work

Exhibition: 26. 11. 2022 - 06. 01. 2023  (with catalogue)

When we talk about the Aalto vase, we automatically think of him, the world-famous Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto (1898 - 1976), who designed, among other things, the Schönbühl high-rise building in Lucerne, whose likeness is depicted on Finnish postage stamps and banknotes, and who was awarded numerous prizes and honors worldwide.

It is still little known that this vase, which later became a design classic, was created in collaboration with Aalto's first wife, the Finnish architect and designer Aino Maria Marsio-Aalto (1894 - 1949). Leafing through publications on Aalto such as the standard work Alvar Aalto. The Complete Works. In three volumes. Zurich Munich 1963, one comes across neither Aino Marsio nor Elissa Mäkiniemi, Aalto's second wife, also an architect and designer.

The exhibition catalog Alvar & Aino Aalto - Design : Collection Bischofberger, published in 2004, seems to be the first and last attempt so far to honor Aino's contribution. Wikipedia states in this regard, "The role of Aino Aalto in terms of her contribution to her husband's worldwide fame has not yet been conclusively researched." ( Certainly, it is almost impossible to read out the individual signatures in the collaboration of a pair of artists*. But is it even important to find a quantifiable share? Can a value be elicited through this? Is it not rather a matter of finally appreciating the women who, whether as private and/or professional partners, stood behind and alongside each man and helped him to fame and glory?

My four-part work "Mrs. Aalto Says"

I would like my work "Mrs. Aalto Says" to be understood as a homage to all those women who would have liked to realize themselves professionally in their lives, but had to take a back seat. Yes, I am also thinking of my grandmother, who as a young woman had trained as a professional opera singer, and then after marriage and because of the children had to give up the practice of her great passion. After the children left home, she found no support whatsoever, and thus did not have the strength to realize her dream. This made her very bitter. And, of course, it also shaped my socialization.

I circled the Aalto vase a thousand times with a pencil, tracing the waves, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. I used four different pencil hardnesses on four different sheets of paper. Depending on the hardness of the pencil, I accidentally damaged the paper, so that holes also appeared. Sometimes the pencil slipped and went over the edge of the sheet. The vase also started to move as I circled it. The result is floating structures in organic shapes made of shiny, fine and thick pencil strokes.

bottom of page