Dan Levenson

Artist's Website

Little Switzerland is a long-term multidisciplinary project which explores a range of questions about the making of art and artists. It begins with a fictional narrative about an art gallery called Little Switzerland. This gallery was founded in the mid-1990s by an idealistic group of recent graduates from the State Art Academy Zurich. I use Switzerland as a metaphor for the society in which artists live. Little Switzerland is allegorical so I treat both time and place with a great deal of license.

The project is centered on painting. It allows me to experiment with the ways in which framing, context and presentation can affect a work of art. I also explore the ways in which paintings are affected by the stories surrounding them. It is important to me that the viewer be aware that the stories I tell are fictions. Little Switzerland is never meant to be a hoax. A hoax collapses back into the duality of true/false in the instant that it is uncovered.

The project is too expansive to be represented all at once. In exhibitions I have created installations which either represented a discrete moment from this fictional history or Little Switzerland in a more abstracted form. This past year I have begun work on an installation which tells the story of the fictional art school from which all the artists in this story emerged. I began with a series of sculptural “Student Painting Storage Cabinets” supposedly taken from the art school. I have begun filling these cabinets with “Student Painting Exercises” meant to address formal concerns such as color, composition, scale and pattern. I have also begun experimenting with video as a means of telling fragments of this story. By using installation and video as framing devices, I hope to expand on a project that questions the ways in which context and narrative affect our experience of art.