The Palacio de Velázquez welcomes the first monographic exhibition in Spain on Swiss artist Rémy Zaugg (Courgenay, 1943 – Basel, 2005). The exhibition’s title The Question of Perception is in reference to the artist’s concerns with exploring language and perception as a medium for activating the spectator. Zaugg’s fascination with the materialisation of language and its phenomenological implications, his analyses of architecture and urbanism, and his practical-theoretical reflections around the presentation of the artwork are key to understanding the full extent of his work.
The exhibition also shines a spotlight on the tautological nature of Zaugg’s oeuvre, visible in his early work on Cézanne, or his investigations into perspective developed in the 1970s, for instance. The importance of the act of seeing, or not, of witnessing or concealing, of perceiving or going unnoticed advances a conceptual and physical experience, bolstered by the use of colour and typography, and by repeated messages that flow unhampered in the here and now.
Zaugg’s work has been on display in galleries and museums, as well as a range of public spaces. His interest in the architectural and urban analysis of space, particularly exhibition space, led to his habitual collaboration with the architects Herzog and de Meuron, resulting in projects for the Campus of the University of Dijon and the Urban Study of Basel, both of which feature in the exhibition. He also wrote a number of texts, deemed essential in museum studies, for instance Das Kunstmuseum, das ich mir erträume. Oder der Ort des Werkes und des Menschen, 1987 (The Art Museum of My Dreams. Or a Place for the Work and the Human Being).
The exhibition also sheds some light on the depth and intensity with which Rémy Zaugg studied the phenomenon of perception, integrated with more than one hundred works from relevant European museums and private collections. It sets out from Esquisses Perceptives d'un tableau (1963–1968), his annotations on Paul Cezanne’s renowned painting La maison du pendu, in which Zaugg replaces fragments of images with literal descriptions. The exhibition also presents a significant ensemble of works from the series Ein Blatt Papier, Le Monde Voit, About Death III, Für ein Bild and One Word One Support.
Moreover, it includes documents on his relationship with Herzog and de Meuron and two videos of actions, one of which features the artist filmed while he smokes a cigarette and watches a performance by Abramovich and Ulay.
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