A local ice rink in Gstaad, Switzerland is converted into a canvas for Claudia Comte and a wooden chalet careers down a mountainside at the behest of Roman Signer in this free-form short by directing duo Roberto de Paolis and Carlo Lavagna. The film captures site-specific art summit, Elevation 1049: Between Heaven and Hell, which takes its name from the altitude of the village. The exhibition is the brainchild of Neville Wakefield, a former curator of Frieze Projects and MoMA’s PS1, and his partner, the artist Olympia Scarry. The pair reappropriated the snowy mountains to create a spirited alternative to the ‘white cube’ galleries of the international art market: “The show was curated by the landscape, and the brief was to create
work that was a reflection of each artist’s relationship to the
place itself,” says Wakefield. The Alpine resort’s reputation for natural beauty and après-ski glitz and glamour attracted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Yehudi Menuhin and Grace Kelly during its heyday, when Time magazine aptly named it “the place to be seen.” It was also the inspiration for Olympia Scarry's grandfather Richard's much-loved children’s series, Busytown. “Gstaad was the backdrop for a lot of my grandfather’s books,” she says. “In many ways Elevation is a continuation of his tradition: he was eccentric, and this is a quality that the artists who exhibited at Gstaad share.” NOWNESS talked to intrepid filmmakers De Paolis and Lavagna, who gave us the lowdown on their mountainous adventure.
Was there any particular piece that you loved?
Roberto de Paolis and Carlo Lavagna: Olivier Mosset’s “Toblerone” was cool, especially on account of the location. It was on top of the highest mountain in the valley. It took us three hours to get there, and then we still couldn’t find it. It was so very cold, we couldn’t use the camera to film it, because the battery would just break. We had to warm up the camera battery with our hands for over an hour. It was so cold you couldn’t even speak. All that to have two minutes of footage!
If you could contribute a piece to Elevation, what would it be?
RP & CL: We thought many times about the end of The Shining, where Jack Nicholson goes mad and starts looking around for his wife and son in the snow. He ends up dying there. We thought about making a fun homage to that set in the mountains.
Our Weekend in Gstaad continues tomorrow with an exclusive photo series from Benoit Jeannet. Elevation 1049 runs until March 8.
Thanks to LUMA Foundation.