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A Swiss Village Becomes an Experiment in Modern Art

What happens when a town offers its public spaces to artists to do what they want

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Courtesy: Robert Hofer

Every summer the small Swiss town of Vercorin offers up its public spaces and buildings to artists to do with them what they will. R&Art, the association behind the initiative, commissions contemporary works that seek to engage the village as a whole in an effort to reconcile Vercorin’s history and traditions with contemporary culture. Lang/Baumann‘s “Street Painting #5″ is a stunning testament to the strength of the villagers’ goal to create "spaces for dialogues in synch with our times."

Photo: Robert Hofer

The painting encompasses the full width of the village, shooting outwards from the central town square down multiple side streets and alleys. Brightly colored diverging lines thread their way through the town and overlap at several points, creating intertwining forms which contrast with the neat, tidy urban edges. Standing in the middle of the square, the lines seemingly extend out into infinity, while from above – an impossible viewpoint afforded only to birds and passing aircraft – they seemingly form a map for some fictional subway system, albeit one realized on a micro-level where every address, cafe, and town landmark has its own train stop.

According to the artists, who spoke to My Modern Met about the painting, construction of the work was opened up to the community, with villagers helping to lay down and paint the lines on the village streets. When it was finished, the town
"used it [the work] in a very playful way…especially the children used it to cycle or skate or walk on the lines."

Photo:Robert Hofer

Photo: Lang/Baumann

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic Cities partner site.

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