In Conversation With the Directors of Kunsthalle Basel and Kunsthalle Zürich


Kunsthalle, Löwenplatz 11


Sat 9.10.21 / 1.30pm

Opening hours

noon – 6pm


Lecture by Dan Solbach (designer of the visual identity of Kunsthalle Zürich) Tue, 12.10.21 / 6.15pm at the festival center

This exhibition presents two video interviews in which Elena Filipovic, curator at Kunsthalle Basel, and Daniel Baumann, curator at Kunsthalle Zürich, reflect on their different curatorial approaches to visual identity. They discuss how the communication strategies of their houses seek to impact the perceptions of different audiences, and they elaborate on strategies that involve designers and artists. Their insights are shared alternately, as a dialog, on two opposing screens. This intimate set up is shielded from outside view by a mounted selection of exhibition posters from both houses.

Both Kunsthalle Basel and Kunsthalle Zürich are dedicated to exhibiting contemporary artists less familiar to audiences, and neither possesses a permanent collection. Baumann and Filipovic are intent on finding different ways to resolve the crucial need for communication that arises from these conditions. When listening to the shared strategies and intentions, some speculations may lead towards answers and actionable solutions, while others generate new questions. What does it look like to communicate as a curated platform for artists rather than as a corporation? Is it possible to refuse institutionalization as an institution? Can visual communication reflect internal connections? Is design able to help make everyone feel welcome? What happens when expressive identity design alters the readability of names? Is today's identity design able to support the constant reframing of authenticity and anticipation demanded from many platforms? 

In the set-up of the exhibition the transition from inside to outside space is marked by posters of the two institutions, which remain the most publicly visible feature of an art institution’s identity. Inside the exhibition space, visitors will be confronted by the processes and questions multifaceted institutional identity design brings with it, among them the assumed limits of graphic design as a discipline and the increasingly oxymoronic demands of contemporary design practices. Listening to the interviews, visitors are invited to reflect on the rigidity of these rules and to rethink established design directives, but they are also invited to ponder why a more conservative approach might still win out for now. Will the fast-paced changes and the restructuring of communication channels be able to support a more adaptable and vivid identity design? How might future strategies differ aesthetically and strategically from the design approaches in use today? How will permeability, sharing desires, and working in collaboration with other disciplines serve designers in the future? 

Concept & Interviews

Dorothee Dähler (Zurich), Stephanie Cuérel (Zurich)

Scenography & Installation

Caroline Gruber, Christiane Stock, Dominic Krucker, Irini Xanthi Karavouzis, Jan Röthlin, Jasmin Ungricht, Julia Ahlberg, Julia Glanzmann, Lara Grünenfelder, Lea Münger, Nexhibe Imeri, Pascale Küng, Patricia Kindler, Sebastian Gill, Silvana Emmenegger, Stéphanie Kiser, Zoe Wymann (Students at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Art & Design). Led by André Meier, Brigit Rufer, Fjolla Rizvanolli and Stephan Wespi

Thank you very much

Elena Filipovic and Claudio Vogt as well as Daniel Baumann and Dan Solbach


Cyrill Studer (Basel), Josh Schaub (Zurich)