The Bally Foundation opens its art house in Lugano

ci took four years to give a home to Bally Foundationbut now that he has it, Villa Heleneum in Lugano it seems to have been designed exactly for host the artists and works that since yesterday can be discovered and experienced by everyone. This project, so desired by Nicolas Girotto, CEO of Bally since 2019, it has been part of the constant revitalization of the Swiss brand, which has begun to show at Milan Fashion Week and which with the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation (BPOF) is passionately dedicated to the conservation and protection of mountains.

The stained glass window by Haim Steinbach. (Photo: J. Bellavita)

Un Lac Unconnuthe home of the Bally Foundation

Therefore, revitalizing is the brand’s imperative, but also continuing i dialogues that Bally carried forward in its history. As the one with art, always a key element of the brand. Until now this bond had materialized through prestigious collaborations with artists, with the MASI (Swiss-Italian Art Museum) and with the Bally Artist Award. Today a new piece is added: a venue capable of welcoming artists and visitors.

After much research, the choice fell on the magnificent one Villa Heleneum, a house created by an art-loving woman to welcome creatives from all over the world. And it is in harmony with this spirit that Nicolas Girotto has entrusted the care of this foundation in Vittoria Matarresean international art expert with a past at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and at the Villa Medici in Rome.

Villa Heleneum in Lugano, headquarters of the Bally Foundation

The choice of giving the name of Un Lac unconnu (an unknown lake), to the selection of artists and temporary exhibitions by the Bally Foundation, arises both from the fact that Matarrese did not know Lake Lugano and was fascinated by it, but also from the reference to Proust: «Emotion causes what we wanted to say to deviate and instead blossom into a completely different sentence, emerging from an unknown lake».

Vittoria Matarrese in the niche frescoed by the youngest artist of the 1996 selection Mathias Bensimon. (Photo: J. Bellavita)

The artists and the works

In the words of the curator Vittoria Matarrese: «Un lac Inconnu and the search for a common vibration between what happens inside and outsidein these gardens designed with eyeshadow by Helene Muheimengraved by Willa Wasserman or woven from Elise Peroiin which the giant forsythias of Petrit Halilaj and ÁlvaroUrbano they protect us from emotional storms and where we can meet the half human, half figures vegetables by Vito Acconci, winged flowers by Wilfrid Almendra and the animated/animist objects of Rebecca Horn».

It is fascinating to note how the villa, landscape and artwork work together to give life to a unique fruition experience. Going up the stairs to the first floor, the sun’s rays pass through the two immense flowers Petrit Halilaj and ÁlvaroUrbano throwing an ever-changing light on ivy men Vito Acconci and creating unprecedented nuances on naturalistic drawings by Hélène Muheim whose pearly reflections of the eyeshadows vary with each change of lighting.

The giant forsythias by Petrit Halilaj and ÁlvaroUrbano dominate the first flight of stairs, interacting with the external landscape and the daylight. (Photo: J. Bellavita)

Matarrese continues: «An exploration of the subconscious, like in the work of Paul Maheke, of the cracks and images that inhabit themof the voices that haunt us, such as those of the sculpture by Tania Gheerbrantfrom the narration by Yannick Haenel or the chorus of Adélaïde Feriot, as wonderful as they are disturbing. if thefresco by Mathias Bensimon offers us a specular view of the lake, the painting of Oliver Beer and the sculpture of Ligia Dias have gone into the depths of the water to find the elements that compose them, while Mel O’Callaghan’s liquid objects make our breaths resonate in our deepest being».

There are two performances that enliven the journey through the Foundation. If the trance induced by the performers of Mel O’Callaghan in his “Respire, Respire”created in collaboration with Sabine Rittner (research associate and music therapist at the Institute of Medical Psychology of Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany), is an emotional and shocking journey, the voices of chorus by Adélaïde Feriot they transport us to ancient times, to the prelude to a Greek tragedy.

Both performances will be performed once a month twice a day. Check the timetables if you don’t want to miss them.

A moment of the performance “Respire, Respire” by Mel O’Callaghan. (Photo: J. Bellavita)

Finally, Matarrese adds: «Facing the lake, under the lake, we are the solitary explorers of the vestiges of the landscape and of our memories, following the example of Caroline Bachmann, Emilija Škarnulytė or Karim Forlin, creating a bridge, a breach that allows us to enter a territory more closely, in its history and in its myths. In an overlapping of narrative and temporal plots, we cross the Villa as if leafing through an intimate diary».

The paintings of Caroline Bachmann they arise from the mathematical collection of meteorological data: air temperature, clouds that she transforms into paintings. Emilija Škarnulytė is a mermaid which crossing a submerged city in front of Naples, makes us reflect on thehydrofeminism and on the precariousness of civilization and the planet.

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Every artist, every work, every performance touches us, modifies us, integrates us into the territory. In a space, that of the Bally Foundation, which will not only always be open to all artists, but also to all visitors to Lugano, who they can enter Villa Heleneum at any time, whether it’s to take a dip, to have a yoga session or to immerse yourself in one of the works. Like those rumors that Tania Gheerbrant has captured, among those who manage to dialogue between dimensions that are only apparently distant.

info: Via Cortivo 24, 6976 Lugano, Switzerland