The Andreas Züst Library makes a stop in the Sitterwerk

For over three months, the Art Library of Daniel Rohner in the Sitterwerk is receiving a visit from an intellectual kin - from the library of Andreas Züst. Around 10,000 volumes from the collection of the art-oriented cosmopolitan are making a stop in the Sitterwerk on their way to the Alpenhof in St.Anton. The coming together of two libraries, which despite their kinship, simultaneously have very different characters, promises an opportunity to discover the characteristics specific to each of them in a natural manner resulting from this rare opportunity to make a very direct comparison of the two collections and how they are managed.

Article in the St.Galler Tagblatt 2.12.2009

November 30, 2009 to March 07, 2010

Accompanying events:


Sunday, 29.11.2009, 2–6pm

Public tour and film presentation:
Wednesday, 13.1.2010
6pm: Two collectors - two libraries. Tour with Mara Züst through the Andreas Züst Library and with Marina Schütz through the Daniel Rohner Art Library.
8:30pm: Film presentation: Picture of Light / Nordlicht by Peter Mettler, CA/CH 1994, 83 minutes, Eng., subtitles: Ger./Fr. (with Andreas Züst, et al)

Theme evening:
Wednesday, 17.2.2010, 7:30pm
Beyond the possibilities and limitations of traditional and modern systems for structuring libraries 
Short presentation on the subject of structuring libraries and the use of RFID technologies for ubiquitous computing, with Silvio Frigg (Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen), Dr. Christian Kern (Infomedis AG) and Prof. Dr. Frédéric Thiesse (Institute for Technology Management, University of St. Gallen). Presentation of the RFID system for the continuous inventory of the Art Library: Boris Brun (dipl. Ing. FH) demonstrates the reading device that he has developed and installed.

Closing Event:
Sunday, 7.3.2010, 2–6pm
Music with Luigi Archetti, Ian Anüll and Marc Zeier
Intervention by Valentin Hindermann and Lex Trüb

From A to Z - A Library Goes Traveling

The subjects addressed in the book collection of Andreas Züst are nearly incomprehensibly wide-ranging. Disparate subjects are drawn together in astounding proximity to one another - and suddenly a comprehensible context develops - or perhaps not. This allows inferences about the personality of the individual who assembled this collection inferences about a person who, like most of us, was shaped by various types of affinities, interests, taboo zones and fascinations.

Andreas Züst came to his own propensity for collecting through collecting images that he recorded with his camera, through collecting art that he found in the studios and galleries of his companions and contemporaries and purchased, and through collecting books - about everything and anything that interested him. As a result of his estate, Andreas Züst seems, for anyone who did not have the opportunity to get to know him personally, to be an incomprehensibly enigmatic figure, who paradoxically, nonetheless seemed to have nothing extraordinary about him. Since the disparate fascinations, as they are united in most of us, are for the most part quite naturally explained by the contingencies in a persons own individual biography. What is extraordinary is quite clearly the comprehensiveness and breadth of the various aspects that came together in Andreas Züst's biography - which also makes it possible to infer extraordinary preconditions.

When looking through his books, in the exhibition of his art collection in the Aargauer Kunstmuseum, in conversation with people who were close to him, Andreas Züst is gradually revealed to be a much-traveled cosmopolitan and art-oriented individual; as a collector of patronage who was able to feel at home everywhere and yet always recognized Spiegelberg - an idyllic elevation in the Zurich Oberland where he grew up and also again took up residence - as his true home.

Amidst this simultaneously bustling and sedate life, Andreas Züst bequeathed a huge agglomeration of artworks and editions, of his own photographic works, of a so-called polar collection, of meteorological observations, of curiosities - and also of a collection of some 10,000 books about art, weather, car journeys, Humboldt, and much, much more.

In the years since his death, this multifaceted mirror of the fascinations of Andreas Züst has gradually been organized and a suitable location has been found for the estate to be housed. Mara Züst first of all carefully obtained an overview of her fathers treasure trove and then saw to the placement of it. The art is now deposited in the Kunstmuseum Aarau, the photographic works have been put on the art market, the polar collection has been sold off, and the books will in the end find a new home in the Alpenhof in St.Anton, which has an affinity to where the collection was originally located. High above the Rheintal in the Canton of St.Gallen, readers of these books will also have a far-reaching view, which is based not only on the nature of the collection but also on the geographical conditions. A small, dedicated group of artists and art-oriented friends are establishing a refuge here on the outermost edge of the Appenzell region, a location that calls for exactly such a library as that of Andreas Züst, and it is thus more than a fortunate coincidence that it will in the end find a resting place.

However, until the Alpenhof has been set up to take the books, they have now been sent on a journey during which they, after a stay in the Perla Mode exhibition space in the red-light district in Zurich, also make stops in the Sitterwerk and afterwards in the Ausserrhoden canton library in Trogen.

With the visit of the Andreas Züst Library, the Art Library of Daniel Rohner in the Sitterwerk is receiving an intellectual kin as a guest and, at the same time, this temporary coming together promises to be highly interesting specifically as a result of the different characters of the two collections. The two collections are both significantly shaped by the personal fields of interest of the men who created them — and these fields overlap in broad areas. Yet where in the one, individual, associatively defined thematic threads are pursued in nearly breathtaking depth, the other is characterized by the associatively diversified, enormous breadth of its thematic spectrum. Where the one collection finds a conclusion that coincides with the end of the collectors life, the other is carried forward with a thematic concentration on its central contents and the contents of the Sitterwerk. Where the one is registered with RFID recognition, the most modern of technologies, made accessible to the public, and nonetheless retains its private character, the other is equipped with traditional alphanumeric library labels and thus already somewhat alienated from the original condition of the personally assembled library that will in the end be made accessible to a selected circle of users in the Alpenhof. (um)

Literature in the Art Library

The Züst Library on the Move:

Perla Mode, corner of Langstrasse/Brauerstrasse, Zurich

Kunstbibliothek Sitterwerk, St.Gallen

Canton Library AR, Trogen

Alpenhof, Oberegg
As of summer 2010