Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Vivian Suter

Exhibition Website

May 5 2017 - Oct 22 2017

Jewish Museum

New York City, NY

Installed in the lobby of the Jewish Museum's Warburg Mansion, the ongoing series Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings will feature an installation by artist Vivian Suter in her first museum exhibition in the United States.

Vivian Suter was born in 1949 in Buenos Aires, where her family fled Vienna at the start of World War II. Over the course of her forty-year career, she has lived all over the world. After traveling throughout Latin America in 1983, she decided to settle in Guatemala, in spite of the country’s civil war that lasted until 1996. She lives and works in the village of Panajachel on a former coffee plantation that is abundant with vegetation and surrounded by mountains, volcanoes, and Lake Atitlán. Suter’s process embraces the unpredictability of her natural environment, and the paintings portray its wildness. 

The artist moves her canvases between the indoor workspace and grounds outside, allowing them to be stained with rain and mud. Leaves and fruits from avocado and mango trees, as well as animals and extreme weather, leave their shadowy traces. In 2005 and 2010, Hurricane Stan and Tropical Storm Agatha flooded Suter’s studio knee-deep, leaving waterlines on the works left hanging in the space. The current display mimics the simple structures she builds to dry, store, stretch, and unstretch her paintings, echoing the artist’s improvisatory style. Suter does not date any of the works; rather, they visually archive a chaotic history.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

  • Painting
  • Latin American
  • Contemporary
  • Vivian Suter

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