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Swiss Art Pure Passion


  • 1Why a Themed Dossier?This dossier on one single topic is intended to inspire journalists to discover Zurich and the many stories it

    has to tell. It includes profiles of people who shape our town in diverse ways, each of whom shares insights

    into their lives and working environments. These people come in as many different facets as the city itself.

    Their stories give ideas to everyone who would like to visit Zurich and pursue their own research in greater

    depth. Journalists and editorial departments are welcome to use these texts and photos for free (source:

    Zrich Tourism). Additional photos are available for downloading at

  • 2Cabaret Voltaire: the birthplace of Dada

  • 3Zurich is a passionate city, but if to see this you

    have to look behind the magnificent facades of the

    banks on Paradeplatz or behind the pretty boutiques

    lining the Bahnhofstrasse. Without the dedication of

    the Zurich guilds and without the idealism instilled

    by the Reformation, Zurich

    would never have become

    the important financial and

    business metropolis it is today.

    However, Zurichs passion has

    not just given rise to a hard-

    working mentality and wealth,

    but also to art and culture.

    Zurich is the birthplace of the

    ironic, wild and polemic art

    movement known as Dada,

    which in 1916 went on to

    conquer art metropolises such

    as Paris, Hamburg and New York from its base

    here. With their abstract collages, multilingual sound

    poems, performances and marketing campaigns,

    the Dadaists brought unrest and turmoil to placid

    Zurich in the early part of the 20th century. However,

    they also paved the way for the surrealists, cubists

    and constructivists.

    Our six portraits show that Zurich is still very much

    a source of creative ideas

    and inspiration. Our artists

    spray graffiti artworks with

    the aim of raising awareness

    of underground culture; they

    create stages on a scale of

    1: 50, the originals of which

    enchant the great stages of the

    world; they write stories that

    make childrens eyes light up;

    they communicate by means

    of laser beams, program digital

    works of art, and decide which

    international bands and artists

    should perform at the citys largest open-air festival.

    Zurich has therefore lost nothing of its artistic passion.

    Pay us a visit and allow yourself to be inspired.


    Zurichs Passions

    Martin Sturzenegger, CEO Zrich Tourism

  • 4Pages 6 9

    Dadaistic Communication | Johannes Gees

    Pages 10 13

    Creator of Fantastic Worlds | Simeon Meier

    Pages 14 17

    Graffiti is Not Evil | Laurence Celine Landert

    Themed Dossier Zurich |Swiss Art Pure Passion

  • 5Pages 22 25

    The Storyteller | Andri Krmer

    Pages 18 21

    A Good Ear for Music | Marion Meier

    Pages 26 29

    The Art of the Future | MuDA

    Pages 30 35

    Information, Map, Imprint









  • 6

  • 7Dadaistic Communication | Johannes Gees

    Johannes Gees is known in Zurich as the founder of the successful crowdfunding platform

    wemakeit. In addition, as a Dadaistic artist he has caused a stir with provocative installations and


    If local artists, designers or graphic designers need some seed capital to get a creative idea off the ground,

    they may well approach the Zurich-based crowdfunding platform wemakeit. wemakeit was founded by

    artist Johannes Gees, who is based in the heart of the once disreputable Langstrasse. In the entrance of

    his business premises, guests are greeted by pictures of light and laser installations, portraits of Gees in

    action, and the Dada Bank a wheel to which various amounts of money are attached. When someone

  • 8submits a Dada project to wemakeit, the wheel

    decides the amount with which the Dada 100

    association will support this enterprise.

    The Dada art movement, which was founded

    in Zurich, and Johannes Gees are old friends:

    since his youth, the creative has encountered the

    Dadaists and their art over and over again, and he

    often draws inspiration from them. Dada was my

    first big love and continues to influence me to this

    day. Nobody experimented with the various means

    of communication and the possibilities offered by

    technology as skillfully

    as the Dadaists, he

    explains. The Dadaists

    were just like Gees

    open to all kinds of tools

    and style forms. They were interested in media and

    communication, worked on a global scale, loved

    to provoke, and were the precursors to other art

    genres, in particular surrealism. Johannes Gees,

    too, is a media-oriented, inquisitive and provocative

    all-around talent, who plays a pioneering role: in

    1999, together with the artist group c.a.l.c., he was

    one of the first people in those days, the Internet

    was completely new and unadulterated to create

    a kind of social medium: with communimage.

    Online, naturally. communimage enables people all

    over the world to upload pictures onto a common

    platform and to communicate with each other.

    During the 2001 World Economic Forum in Davos,

    Gees installed a laser projector in the apartment

    of the local pastor, linked it up with the Internet,

    and projected messages from people all over the

    world onto the snow-covered mountain slopes.

    An absolute sensation for that year, Davos was

    completely sealed off from the outside world for fear

    of demonstrations and riots, and Gees laser beams

    were suddenly the only means of communication

    between politicians and the world population. In

    2003, Gees repeated this operation on an even

    larger scale: in four continents, on four projection

    surfaces in New York, Bombay, Rio de Janeiro and

    Geneva. In this way, a good 10,000 messages

    were projected in the course of 24 hours. What will

    he come up with next?

    Johannes Gees provokes

    in a manner that is in

    no way inferior to the

    Dadaists. He is a communicator and innovator,

    and is passionate about linking people all over

    the globe. I love the do-it-yourself approach and

    the transboundary collaboration between people,

    he explains. He is referring to wemakeit but the

    statement is equally true of his own artistic creativity.


    Johannes Gees GmbH

    Schneggstrasse 5

    CH-8004 Zrich

    I love the do-it-yourself approach and the

    transboundary collaboration between people.

  • 9

  • 10

  • 11

    Creator of Fantastic Worlds | Simeon Meier

    Simeon Meier is a stage designer of international repute. Besides designing sets for the

    Schauspielhaus Zurich and the Theater Neumarkt in Zurich, he creates fantastic worlds in

    particular for German stages.

    In his studio opposite Wipkingen train station, in the north-west part of the city, little points towards Simeon

    Meiers creative activity. A large table, a few books, and numerous boxes rowed up along the wall. Well,

    my creativity can be seen on the theater stages in Zurich, Cologne or Dresden, he says, I can only

    show you a few models here. Which he then promptly does. He roams around his workshop, looks in a

    crate here, opens a box there, then suddenly stands on the table and reaches up for a long cardboard

  • 12

    package. From this he conjures up a forest to the

    scale of 1: 50, which he recently created for the

    production of Shakespeares tragedy Troilus and

    Cressida in Cologne. He enthusiastically tells of

    how this set came into being, from the original

    idea to discussions with stage director Rafael

    Sanchez, of the lighting testing together with the

    actors, and above all

    of the rotating stage,

    which transformed

    a single set into four

    different scenes. While

    the stage revolves, the

    protagonists walk alongside, with the result that

    they look as if they are on a long journey.

    Simeon Meier discovered his fascination for rooms

    and pictures at an early stage. As a child, he was

    allowed to watch friends of his parents who

    were decorators at work: Thats where I first got

    the bug, he says, his eyes shining. After leaving

    school, he did an apprenticeship as decorator at

    the tradition-steeped department store Jelmoli, in

    Zurich. That was fantastic, he recalls. In those

    days I was able to create entire story-based worlds

    in the display windows. Soon afterwards, he was

    already working as an assistant to the set designer

    at the Schauspielhaus Zurich, which allowed him

    to quickly make contacts within the theater world.

    It is extremely important for a set designer to know

    various producers and dramaturges, for they hire

    the set designers they best like working with to

    create their production sets. In earlier times, a set

    designer was permanently employed at a theater

    or opera house and was, so to speak, the in-house

    set designer. Nowadays, a renowned designer

    travels all over the world partly becaus