Gregory Pages gathered twenty international artists in the picturesque Swiss village of Crans Montana for his first edition of the Vision Art Festival http://visionartfestival.com/ I was re-reading the invitation email over and over again; Crans Montana, august, streetart, Festival …huh, maybe? Considering that not long ago Neville Wakefield and Olympia Scarry organised Elevation 1049 in Gstaad during the winter season the idea of going to look at some open air art in good weather was an offer I could not reject. I was just not quite sure what I was in for but curiosity is a maddening vice unless properly fed. After a delayed flight and the success of bringing as carry on luggage a bag full of liquids and razor blades I began my train journey to the fairy like Alp peaks. The road taken was definitely not “less travelled” but a much frequented one in my teenage years. I would have had a face velcroed to the window in adornment of natural polished beauty that only Switzerland can provide but I had every tree memorized from my numerous previous trips. Lake Geneva, Montreux, Lausanne, the hometown of Charlie Chaplin Vevey, Chillon Castle and that famous landmark the city of Aigle. As the train flew past it I could not avoid all the happy memories that flooded back. This was the station that I would arrive to and take the car to my boarding school in the mountains which was situated on 1300 meters. What a cocoon it was in those years. Daydreaming is suddenly interrupted by my designated driver and good friend – Tiffany: ” We are very late, we have 5 minutes to drive up the mountain to the inauguration dinner and that involves you changing in the hotel as well. Vincent said that he does not care if get tickets for speeding”. Just do it, I said out loud. Those familiar three words. It was literally like that. Done. Like robots we managed to just make it in time and hear some of the inauguration speeches which took place in an imposing Bond like location on 2600 meters. This is where I had my first encounter with one of the art pieces of the festival, a giant 20 foot unicorn by Gypsberg and Goguesev.
I remembered that I had seen it looking ravishing in a beautiful location on the lake Geneva. Giant unicorns travel light because they are inflatable unicorns or Little Ponies with a horn. How come I did not think of that when I was pumping my water bed , well when the beach boy was ….well I always hated water beds and was their number one enemy. Useless neither here nor there invention. Yes…on that note I saw that unicorn in a picture from Greg’s house in Geneva.
Gregory Pages, as the director of the Geneva based family gallery Frank Pages has always been closely involved with the art world. He would spend his winters in Crans and look at the empty grey walls of the departure and arrival car stations. I guess that is where the idea for this Festival came from. I have to admit that they do look gloomy, especially in summer as they are juxtaposed against the glorious and happy green grass and shiny blue skies. I guess Greg was thinking that he needed to give it some life and he got the village mayor to agree. With an impressive list of sponsors under the belt the festival’s first season is open! The works will be on display in town and also along the cable cars that stretch on the ski pistes up to 3000 meters above sea level. This is quite an amazing location for artists to create their pieces on walls of local buildings as Crans Montana overlooks the Rhone valley and the Valais Alps. I felt like I was on a treasure hunt. You are simply given a map like the one below
and you are off on your journey of discovery. Your hike takes you from the level of polite 1400 meters to a lung gushing 2600 meters! I have to admit that my lungs and my hearts would not co-operate during the 75 angle hike. It was so steep and my toned goat like body was not on friendly relations with my heart. There was a high risk of heart attack but luckily I avoided it by slowing down. In October , the final touch from artist Vihls happens on 3000 meters Glaciers Plaine Morte. I think I have time to quit cigarettes and work on my lung capacity by then and arrive to the top with a more pleasant facial expression.
Interesting finds on the way include all the incredible artists: Angry Woebots, Cedric Kesa, Dan Acher, Greg Mike, Hebru Brantley, Issam Rezgui, Leza, Toz, 2Alas, Felipe Pantone, Rodrigo Branco, Chorboogie, Nevercrew, Reka One, Icy Sot, Rustam Qbic, Okura, Remed that took their time to paint this visual feast. Some images are below.
Spanish Felipe Pantone creates hypnotic imagery using acid colours, unstructured graphics and shadows. The black and white grids work so well with the roof of this parking lot building!
Brazilian Rodrigo Branco‘s clown is stretched on a wall in the village of Crans Montana. Much like his drawings it depicts his view of the world as a young boy that was impaired by a serious sight difficulty. Also living close to a circus his earliest memories would be clowns.
PHOTO BY IAN OX
Swiss Nevercrew artistic development through painting, which later evolved to other expression forms like sculpture, illustration, photography and video. Their polar bear ( in making here) plays with three dimensional concepts.
Russian Rustam Qbic has been painting this surreal story on the top of the Bellalui peak. I particularly love the imagery of the heart as a fountain. I was soon to find out that the hike to this location was surreal itself.