Art and Production

The aim of the non-profit Sitterwerk Foundation is to manage and further expand the Sitterwerk as an institutional center for art and production on the grounds of the former Sitterthal textile dye-works in St.Gallen. The Sitterwerk consists of the publically accessible institutions of the Art Library and Material Archive, the museum-like part of the Kesselhaus Josephsohn, and the Studio House for guest artists. The Foundation was established by Felix Lehner, Hans Jörg Schmid, and Daniel Rohner in 2006.

The former Sittertal industrial site is used by various enterprises. The Kunstgiesserei, and a photo lab are situated here within a lively context. In these commercial enterprises and in the non-profit institutions of the Sitterwerk, artists, craftspeople, scholars in different disciplines, and an interested public come into contact. The infrastructure of the Art Library, Material Archive, and Studio House in the Sitterwerk is conducive to research and mediation and utilizes the synergies that arise between the diverse processes involved in the creation and preservation of art and cultural goods.

The initial holdings of the Art Library come from the collections of Daniel Rohner and Felix Lehner and comprise ca. 25,000 volumes on art, architecture, and their history as well as on material and casting techniques. The Art Library is being continuously expanded, with the focus of new acquisitions on contemporary art and sculpture as well as their handcrafted production, casting techniques, materials research and iconography. The books have no fixed location on the shelves. Their order is instead dynamic and associative—users are able to rearrange the books again and again, but it is still possible to find them at any time thanks to radio frequency technology. This new technology for continuous inventory developed in the Sitterwerk provides a platform for exploring questions relating to the organization of knowledge and to artistic practice in dealing with archives.

In the Material Archive, the collection of materials is being further developed to provide art producers, architects, and designers access to selected material prototypes and samples. These are compiled and documented in cooperation with the neighboring Kunstgiesserei and the Verein Material-Archiv (Material-Archive Association). The Material Archive is therefore integrated within both the handcraft context of art production and a Switzerland-wide network with educational institutions. In the Kesselhaus Josephsohn, the works of the important sculptor are presented in a constantly changing selection, conserved, and processed for scholarly research in a catalogue raisonné. The Galerie Felix Lehner in the Kesselhaus Josephsohn represents the estate of Hans Josephsohn—the time and effort involved in looking after the oeuvre in the Kesselhaus are financed through the sale of Josephsohn’s works.

The use of the Studio House is based on a flexible concept. The studio advisory committee of the Sitterwerk Foundation each year invites between two and five guest artists to stay and work in the studios for several months. The Studio House is also used for projects such as workshops or cultural events. During the cold season of the year, one of the studios is made available as a workspace for artists based in the region and the largest studio is rented to the Kunstgiesserei.

The institutions in the Sitterwerk host a loose sequence of projects and exhibitions related to their focuses: art, books, materials, knowledge structures, the production of three-dimensional art, and design. Through its activities, the Sitterwerk has developed a supra-regional and international profile and thus also contributes to strengthening the site as a whole.

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