Makers of art, craftspeople, scholars, and the general public come together on the industrial site in the Sitter Valley near St.Gallen. With its Art Library, Material Archive, and Studio House for guest artists, the non-profit Sitterwerk Foundation offers access to topics and contents that are closely linked with their immediate surroundings. With its proximity to the Kesselhaus Josephsohn exhibition space, the workshops of the Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen (art foundry), and the Fotolabor, the Sitterwerk Foundation is a place where production, research, preservation, and the mediation of art pervade and enrich one another in diverse ways.
The aim of the non-profit Sitterwerk Foundation is to operate and further develop a public center for art and production on the grounds of the former Textilfärberei Sitterthal (textile dying plant) in St.Gallen. The Sitterwerk Foundation includes the Art Library, the Material Archive, and the Studio House for guest artists. Felix Lehner, Hans Jörg Schmid, and Daniel Rohner established the foundation in 2006.
The former industrial area in the Sitter Valley is used in various ways today. The Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen, the Kesselhaus Josephsohn, and the Fotolabor settled down here in a vibrant context. In this close proximity of commercial operations and the non-commercial and public areas of the Sitterwerk Foundation, artists, craftspeople, scholars, and an interested public come together. The infrastructure of the Art Library, Material Archive, and Studio House serves as a basis for research and mediation and renders possible to benefit from the synergies that arise between the diverse processes of creating and preserving art and cultural assets.
The basic holdings of the Art Library came from the collections of Daniel Rohner and Felix Lehner and include around 25,000 volumes on art, architecture, and their history as well as on material and casting technology. The Art Library continues to expand, with contemporary art and sculpture and their handcrafted production, casting technology, material sciences and iconography as focuses in the case of new acquisitions. The books do not have a fixed location on the shelves; their order is dynamic and associative—they can be rearranged by users again and again, but can nonetheless be found at any time thanks to radio frequency technology. This technique of continuous inventory, which was developed at the Sitterwerk, provides a platform for examining questions relating to knowledge systems and artistic practices in dealing with archives.
The Material Archive has assembled a collection of materials that provides makers of art, architects, and designers access to selected material samples and specimens. They are collected in cooperation with the neighboring Kunstgiesserei and the Verein Material-Archiv (material archive association) and documented on the knowledge portal materialarchiv.ch. The Material Archive engages with the craft context of art production and is part of a Switzerland-wide network of educational institutions.
Use of the Studio House is based on a flexible concept: each year, the Sitterwerk Foundation’s studio advisory committee invites two to five guest artists for a studio stay of one to 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 biggest studio is rented to the Kunstgiesserei.
In the Sitterwerk, projects and exhibitions that have a content-related relationship to its focuses—art, books, materials, knowledge systems, the production of sculptural art, and design—take place in a loose sequence. Through its activities, the Sitterwerk Foundation has developed a supra-regional and international reputation and thus also contributes to strengthening the location.
For the following years an annual report can be downloaded as a PDF: