05 Jul A visit to Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur
I’m rather fond of the Japanese concept of ikigai. A rough translation is a ‘reason for being’. I also like to have a ‘reason for travelling’. That day I was travelling to Zurich for the Monocle Quality of Life Conference. On the way into the city, I made way for a stopover at Fotostiftung Schweiz, the Swiss photography foundation in Winterthur.
My ‘reason’ for the stopover was to drop in on Double Take, an exhibition featuring 42 works by Swiss artist duo Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger. I had met the duo at Photo London, for the signing of their new book, while working for East Wing Gallery, who represents them.
Fotostiftung Schweiz is a 15-minute walk from Winterthur train station. The foundation focuses on Swiss photography and its neighbour across the street, Fotomuseum Winterthur, on international photography, and where the current show is Juergen Teller – Enjoy Your Life!
At Double Take, I took a journey through some of the world’s most iconic moments captured by photography. These moments are then recreated by Cortis & Sonderegger in 3D models and rephotographed for a project that started six years ago.
Before my visit to the exhibition, I fuelled myself up with the most delicious homemade chocolate cake, in the foundation’s Bistro George, with doors opening onto a sunny terrace.
If that isn’t about Food & Travel!
Cortis & Sonderegger at Fotostiftung
The ‘double takes’ include the Making of ‘ AS11-40-5878’ – Buzz Aldrin’s footprint on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission – and the Making of ‘The Last Photo of the Titanic Afloat’ (the Titanic follows me everywhere).
Cortis & Sonderegger’s idea for Double Take came when Andreas Gursky’s photograph Rhein II – of the River Rhine – sold for US$4.3 million in 2011. The two, with a humouristic twist, then created a model of Rhein II … and the series went from there.
At the entrance to the exhibition is the Making of ‘Marlboro Man’. The original work was by Swiss photographer, Hannes Schmid. In fact, the model is of a painting by Schmid, who, when the mythical cowboy was dropped from advertising in 2006, turned to oils as the only way to protect the copyright.
Local wine in Winterthur
Along my 15-minute walk from the station through the pedestrianised city centre, I discovered the Gran Reserva Vinoteca. “I am looking for a Swiss wine, made with a local grape variety, by a small producer and with minimum intervention,” I asked them. It was a present for family in Geneva. By minimum intervention, I meant wine produced with nature rather than chemicals.
The suggestion: a bottle of Ferdinand Räuschling AOC produced on the nearby hill of Taggenberg by Stephan Herter with the local grape variety Räuschling.
While London was basking in hot sunshine, in Winterthur I was wrapped in a light woollen scarf and it started to rain. The wind was coming from the east. Very kindly, Gran Reserva lent me an umbrella for the last stretch of the walk to the foundation. Thank you Gran Reserva!
St Alban’s Day
I arrived in Winterthur as preparations were under way for Albanifest. The festival is held on the last weekend of June to celebrate the feast of Saint Alban.
Flags were everywhere, including the rectangular Swiss flag. The only other sovereign state to have a rectangular flag is the Vatican.
There was a buzz in the cafes and cake shops – the Swiss love their bakeries and cake shops. People were queuing to buy seasonal apricots for jam-making at a stall in Steinbergasse.
Sometimes it’s pleasant to venture out to a town off the global tourism track. Especially if you have a ‘reason’ for travelling.