Not Vital

Switzerland 1948

Installation, Sculpture, Painting, Design, Drawing

Not Vital
Not Vital
May 26, 2016

Not Vital is a Swiss multitalented multidisciplinary artist, painter, sculptor, and architect. His nomadic spirit led him to many adventures in life, which inspired a lot of his artwork. Travel and wanderlust brought an anthropological note to his creations. While wandering the world, he has been to China, Patagonia, Brazil, Africa and most of the Europe. In Switzerland, he has his main estate and foundation. On his adventures, he searches for unique natural treasures and makes art about it. For example, he was so fascinated with African sunset, that he built The House to Watch the Sunset in Niger. The house has three flights of stairs on the outside, which are surrounded by palm trees.

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Not Vital – Sunset House, 2005, Agadez, Niger (Left) / Tower with Hair, 2008, Sent, Switzerland (Right)

When Vital has a Message to Send

Not Vital was born in Sent, Engadin in Switzerland in 1948. He studied at the Centre Universitaire expérimental de Vincennes in Paris. Although he is not an architect, he challenges himself to work on various houses. He is shaping the living space, but making the buildings look like sculptures, giving them both aesthetical and practical appeal. The idea of changing space resonates with him, and with his buildings he sends a message to the environment, that it has been changed for the sole purpose of comfort, definition, and purpose. Growing up in Switzerland influenced his connection to nature and usage of colors. White, black and silver are his dominant colors for his artwork, and a lot of other work because they resemble snow. In Africa, his favorite colors stay the same, they just get enriched with a few shades of green from palm trees, then the terracotta palette, and shades of abundant sunshine.

White, black and silver are the dominant colors for Not Vital

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Not Vital – Moon, 2004

Unusual Sculpture

Everything Vital makes is inspired by this connection to either a physical place he visited or the culture and sentiment of the site. His sculptures are metaphorical containers, that preserve his wonderful ideas. The sculptures are made of a sophisticated or completely unusual material, such as gold, silver, plaster, coal, soap, tea, marble and bronze. He experiments with form and makes large sculptures of the Moon or collection of subjects in a series. He names his work in the most creative manner, expanding the metaphor even further. He likes to play with the environment and often makes his pieces changing their looks, or being visible only at certain times, giving the outside circumstances.

Vital belongs to some of the most inventive artists in the world

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Not Vital – 625, 2010 (Left) / Adam One Afternoon, 2011 (Right)

Travelling for Inspiration

Paintings are done in a simplistic manner, with a profound range of emotion weaved into them. They are minimalistic, and unpolished, open to the interpretation that has been already slightly determined by his clever captions. Crucial parts of his creativity are the trips around the globe. He emerges in different cultures, takes the best out of natural surroundings, and customizes his idea to newly found preferences. Not Vital’s creations go far beyond the distinction between realistic and fictional. They are a unique category, indefinable and whole only in a context of the environment and the idea.

Not Vital lives and works between Beijing, China, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Sent, Switzerland.

Featured image: Not Vital – Schlafendes Haus und Kunstler, 2009, photo credits Koer
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
201612+2+1Art Bartschi & Cie, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2016Not VitalYorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, United KingdomSolo
2016Nuove consonanzeOpere dalle collezioni del museo Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, SwitzerlandGroup
2016Press ARTOpere dalla collezione Annette e Peter Nobel, Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, SwitzerlandGroup
2015Not Vital: BellavalKloster Schoenthal Foundation, SwitzerlandSolo
2015NOT VITAL: 700 SNOWBALLSGalerie Andrea Caratsch, St. Moritz, SwitzerlandSolo
2015Not VitalPaco Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo
2015Not Vital - Esculturas & desenhosGaleria Nara Roesler, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2015SignsWordsSperone Westwater, New York, U.S.A.Group
2015Simple Forms: Contemplating BeautyMori ArtMuseum, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2015Biennale Skulpturen SymposiumWinterthur, SwitzerlandGroup
2015AFRICA. ARCHITECTURE, CULTURE AND IDENTITYLouisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebak, DenmarkGroup
2015Not Vital e Laura BottChasa Jaura Museum, Val Mustair, SwitzerlandGroup
2015Muster, Modelle, ParodienSwitzerlandGroup
2015Space AgeGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris Pantin, FranceGroup
201530 YEARS. Artists of the GalleryGalerie Tschudi, Zuoz, Switzerland (19 December 2015 - 19 March 2016)Group
2014TanterCabinet d'Arts Graphiques, Musees d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2014Not VitalGaleria Patricia Ready, Santiago, ChileSolo
2014ALLENDE by NOT VITALEjercicios Mosqueto, Santiago, ChileSolo
2014HEADSGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceSolo
2014The Drawing Show: Not Vital SnowAkira Ikeda Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
2014NOT VITAL: Skulptur 1986 – 2013Galerie Andrea Caratsch, St. Moritz, SwitzerlandSolo
2014NOT VITAL: PIZGalleria Sperone, Sent, SwitzerlandSolo
2014NOT VITAL: EvertonSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
2014NOT VITAL: Il pavimento della cucina di mia nonnaMuseo d’Arte di Mendrisio, Mendrisio, SwitzerlandSolo
2014Elevation 1049: Between Heaven and HellGstaad Biennial, Gstaad, SwitzerlandGroup
2014Des Hommes et La ForetChateau de Nyon, Nyon, SwitzerlandGroup
2014FOR YOUR EYES ONLYPeggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, ItalyGroup
2014PlatformAlmine Rech Gallery, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2014ALPENLIEBEKaiser Franz Josefs Hohe Centre, Carinthia & East Tyrol, AustriaGroup
2014Bloodflames RevisitedPaul Kasmin Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Group
2014Unterirdisch - Das Spektakel des UnsichtbarenMuseum fur Gestaltung Zurich, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2014FOR YOUR EYES ONLYKunstmuseum Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2014Inhabiting the WorldBusan Biennale 2014, Busan, South KoreaGroup
2014M Home: Living in SpaceUllens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, ChinaGroup
2014One Way: Peter MarinoBass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.A.Group
2013Not Vital: LandscapesBen Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong, ChinaSolo
2013Not Vital: 700 SnowballsIsola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, ItalySolo
2013GuardaGalerie Urs Meile, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2013Moving: Norman Foster on ArtCarre d’Art – Musee d’Art Contemporain, Nimes, FranceGroup
2013SignsWordsSperone Westwater Lugano, SwitzerlandGroup
2013Blickachsen 9 – Contemporary Sculpture in Bad Homburg and FrankfurtRhein – MainFrankfurt am Main, GermanyGroup
2013Uninhabitable Objects – Dwellings between Imagination and RealityBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
2012Not VitalSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
2012Let One Hundred Flowers BloomKunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, AustriaSolo
2012Not Vital: Werke 1989 Bis 2011Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen, GermanySolo
2012Not Vital: Ceuvres sur papierGalerie Guy Bartschi, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
20125 Spaniards & NothingIvorypress Space, Madrid, SpainSolo
2012Marble Sculpture from 350 B.C. to last weekSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Group
2012Printin’The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, U.S.A.Group
2012Carpe DiemToyota Municipal Museum, Nagoya, JapanGroup
2012Art et NatureJardin du Havel, Saint Hymer, FranceGroup
2012White: Marble and PaintFrom Antiquity to Now,?Robilant + Voena, London, U.K.Group
2012FormungenGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
201210 Years in the EngadinGalerie Tschudi, Zuoz, SwitzerlandGroup
2011Hanging & WaitingAlmine Rech Gallery, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2011Art & Architecture Projekt 2011: No Problem SculptureArt Forum Ute Barth, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2011Haare, Hirsch & MaoGalerie Nordenhake, Berlin, GermanySolo
2011Not Vital: Full OnUCCA (Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art), Beijing, ChinaSolo
2011PlastersAkira Ikeda, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2011Sculptures: Diao SuGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceSolo
2011Not Vital: Opere GraficheVilla Garbald, Castasegna, SwitzerlandSolo
2011The Unknown Collection from BielefeldBundeskunsthalle, Bonn, GermanyGroup
2010Modell fur Schlafendes HausGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac Editions, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2010Not Vital: SuicidesBen Brown Fine Arts, London, U.K.Solo
2010Not VitalLa Punt, SwitzerlandSolo
2010Places in the WorldGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceSolo
201025 Jahre Galerie TschudiGalerie Tschudi, Zuoz, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Director’s ChoiceBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Idea and ObjectGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2009PelvisGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo
2009Schlafendes HausKunsthalle Vienna, Vienna, AustriaSolo
2009NOT VITAL: NOT WHYGalerie Urs Meile, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2009Fuentes (Artists and Their Inspirations)Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2009Fuentes (Non-European Influences on Contemporary Artists)Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Sculpture in NatureNature of Sculpture, Foundation De 11 Lijnen, OudensburgGroup
2009In der NachtGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
2008TongueGalerie Urs Meile, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2008Let One Hundred Flowers BloomCurrents – Art and Music, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2008Not Vital: 10 Austrians and MoreGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2008Blood on PaperVictoria and Albert Museum, London, United KingdomGroup
2008Am Nabel der WeltBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
2008Wunderkammer: A Century of CuriositiesThe Museum of Modern Art, New York City, U.S.A.Group
2008Kunst zum Mittag – Bildbetrachtungen fur den leichten HungerBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
2008Not Vital and Emil LukasMendelson Gallery, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.Group
2007PuntsGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo
2007Lotus, Coffee and Stone Pine, Portraits, Snow and BoyfriendSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
2007HeartsGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac Editions, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2007300 palle di neveMuseo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano, SwitzerlandSolo
2007Collective OneGalerie Guy Bartschi, Geneva, SwitzerlandGroup
2007Von Tag zu TagBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
2007Exposures, the Contemporary Self – PortraitGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2007Agadez: Richard Long and Not VitalGalerie Tschudi, Zuoz, SwitzerlandGroup
200725 Jahre Galerie CroneGalerie Crone, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2007Contemporary Art on PaperPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, U.S.A.Group
2006The Arts Club of ChicagoChicago, U.S.A.Solo
2006 (Bap, mamma, eu) mit Alberto SorbelliGalerie Guy Bartschi, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2006Nietzsches SchnauzZeichnungen, Nietzsche Haus, Sils Maria, SwitzerlandSolo
2006MountainsGalerie Beyeler, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2006Visioni del Paradiso100 Buatschas, Swiss Institute, Rome, ItalyGroup
2005Not Vital: New SculptureGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceSolo
2005Not Vital: AgadezKunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, GermanySolo
2005Not Vital: AgadezAlbion Gallery, London, U.K.Solo
2005Not Vital: New SculptureGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2005Group ExhibitionGalerie Tschudi, Zuoz, SwitzerlandGroup
2004Sperone WestwaterNew York City, U.S.A.Solo
2004Milla larmas id un chamelGalerie Nordenhake, Berlin, GermanySolo
2004300 CamelsCentral House of Artists, Moscow, RussiaSolo
2004Caratsch de Pury & LuxembourgZurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2004Sculpture in NatureNature of Sculpture, Foundation De 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, BelgiumGroup
2004What You See Is What You GetKISS, Kunst im Schloss Untergroningen, Abtsgmund, GermanyGroup
2004La Mort Devant SoiGalerie Guy Bartschi, Geneva, SwitzerlandGroup
2004Kunstmarkt UnterengadinNAIRS Centre for Contemporary Art, ScuolGroup
2003FAT ES FATMuseo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano, SwitzerlandSolo
2003Chasa Jaura ValchavaValchava, SwitzerlandSolo
2003Ci SiamoZeitgenossisches Kunstschaffen Engadin und Sudtiroler, Sils im Engadin, SwitzerlandGroup
2003Balthasar BurkhardNot Vital, Galerie Tschudi, Zuoz, SwitzerlandGroup
2003La Montagna RicreataValle d’AostArte, Aosta, ItalyGroup
2003Skulptur 03Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2003Mario Merz, Balthasar Burkhard, Hamish Fulton, Callum Innes, Martina Klein, Richard Long, Ulrich Ruckriem, Not VitalGalerie Tschudi, Zuoz, SwitzerlandGroup
2002Not Vital: Mias MuntognasEdith Wahlandt Galerie, Stuttgart, GermanySolo
2002VitalGalerie Guy Bartschi, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2002FAT ES FATMuseum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Sturzenegger Stiftung, SwitzerlandSolo
2002FAT ES FATKunsthalle Goppingen, Goppingen, GermanySolo
2001SkulpturenGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2001Scultures recentesGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceSolo
2001Not Vital: New Sculpture de Pury & LuxembourgZurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2001Voglio vedere le mie montagneGalleria Cardi & Co., Milan, ItalySolo
2001Heart of GlassQueens Museum of Art, New York City, U.S.A.Group
2001Plateau of Humanity49th Biennale, Venice, ItalyGroup
2000Not VitalNils Stark Galerie, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
2000Not Vital - Meine SchafeGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo
2000Cosmologies: Boetti, Fontana, Halley, Laib, Tuttle, VitalSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Group
2000Kunst, die wir liebenBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
2000UberSichtGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
1999SnowballsBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1999Not VitalSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1999Konnex KairoKunstmuseum Thun, SwitzerlandGroup
1999Magisches Ratisches Dreieck, Drei Kunstler – Drei PositionenSchlossmuseum Landeck, Landeck, AustriaGroup
1999Head to Toe: Impressing The BodyUniversity Gallery, Fine Arts Center, University Of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.A.Group
1999Prasentation Zeitgenossischer KunstBayerische Versicherungsbank AG, Unterfohring, GermanyGroup
1998Skulpturer Och TeckningarGalerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, SwedenSolo
1998Nototo1000 Eventi, Milan, ItalySolo
1998Group ExhibitionGalleria Maria Cilena, Milan, ItalyGroup
1997Large Works on PaperBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1997Sperone WestwaterNew York City, U.S.A.Solo
1997Totem Und TabuKunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, GermanySolo
1997Not VitalMalmo Konsthall, Malmo, SwedenSolo
1997Totem and TabuKunsthalle Bielefeld, Richard Kaselowsky Haus, Bielefeld, GermanyGroup
1997Anselmo, Boetti, Laib, Merz, Nauman, Paolini, Pistoletto, Vital, ZorioSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1997AnimalsBaron Boisante Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1997Animaux et animauxZeitgenossische Kunst und Zoologie, Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Schaffhausen, SwitzerlandGroup
1997ObjectivityVirginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, U.S.A.Group
1996Not Vital - SchoppaGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo
1996Thinking Print, Books to Billboards, 1980 – 1995The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1996Ubergange – Kunst aus Graubunden 1936 – 1996Bundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
1996Dissimilar & Unrelated SculpturesBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1996The Material ImaginationUntitled, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1996Projects, 3 New + 3 OldBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1995Galerie LehmannLausanne, SwitzerlandSolo
1995SculptureSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1995Not Vital1000 Eventi, Turin, ItalySolo
1995Not VitalGalleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Rome, ItalySolo
1995Beyond Switzerland – Works by Contemporary Swiss ArtistsHong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
1995Schrift Im BildGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
1995Selected Projects of ’81 – ’95Baron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1995Show Of SculptureSperone Westwater, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1995 (W) H O (W) ARE YOUGalerie Anhava, Helsinki, FinlandGroup
1994Not Vital: Skulpturen Zeichnungen DruckgraphikGalerie Edith Wahlandt, Stuttgart, GermanySolo
1994Berggruen & Zevi LimitedLondon, U.K.Solo
1994The Body HumanNohra Haime Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1994A Century of Artists BooksThe Museum of Modern Art, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1994Curtis Anderson and Not VitalBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1994Projekt Schweiz II, Natur – KulturKunsthalle Basel, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
1993Galerie LehmannLausanne, SwitzerlandSolo
1993Cow DungNew Bronze Works, Wooster Gardens, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1993Adam, One AfternoonBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1993DisegnsSquitschs in LainZeichnungenHolzschnitte, Galleria d'Art Center Augustin, Scuol, SwiterlandSolo
1993Floor Show. Sculptures & ObjectsAnders Tornberg Gallery, Lund, SwedenGroup
1993Elliott Puckette, Nicolas Rule, Not VitalPaul Kasmin Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1993Kunstler gegen die FolterKunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
1993Across The River and Into The Trees, a Sculpture ShowThe Rushmore Festival, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1993Self – Evidence, Self – Portraits in Prints and PhotographsNew York Public Library, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1992Cacche Di MuccaVia Farini Galleria, Milan, ItalySolo
1992Sculture RecentiStudio Guenzani, Milan, ItalySolo
1992Bronzen (1000 Kacken fur ein Kinderspital in Katmandu)Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
199218 buatschas, 1000 Bronze – Kuhfladen fur ein Kinderspital in NepalGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo
1992Drawn in the 90’sThe Katonah Museum of Art, Bedford, U.S.A.Group
1992Drawn in the 90’sIndiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, U.S.A.Group
1992Drawn in the 90’sKerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art, Alberta, Calgary, CanadaGroup
1992Donald Baechler, Michael Byron, Not VitalBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1992Not Vital und Florio PuenterGalleria Pinta, Genoa, ItalyGroup
1992Skulpturen und arbeiten auf papierGalerie Nova, Fredi Buchel, Pontresina, SwitzerlandGroup
1992Works On PaperBaron Boisante, New York City, U.S.A.Group
1991Not Vital – Photographs by Florio PuenterGalerie Luciano Fasciati, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo
1991Auf Mist wachsen BlumenGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
1991Not Vital: The Complete Prints and MultiplesBaron Boisante Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1991The Complete Prints and MultiplesBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo
1991AUSSENSKULPTURENGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
1991Sol Lewitt (Wall Drawing), Not Vital (Druckgrafik & Multiples), Barnett Newman (18 Cantos)Bundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
1991Corsin Fontana, Gaspare O. Melcher, Matias Spescha, Not VitalGalerie Nova, Fredi Buchel, Pontresina, SwitzerlandGroup
1991Skulpturen – Bilder – GrafikenGalerie Nova, Pontresina, SwitzerlandGroup
1990Not VitalPS Gallery, Tokyo, JapanSolo
1990Not VitalCurt Marcus Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1990Prix BCG ‘90Musee Rath, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
1990El Maktoub MaktoubBaron Boisante Gallery, New York City, U.S.A.Solo
1990The First Five YearsThe Kaldewey Press At Harvard University, Boston, U.S.A.Group
1989Not Vital: Dessins et sculpturesCentre Culturel Suisse, Paris, FranceSolo
1989Object of Thought, A Collection of Objects and Small SculpturesAnders Tornberg Gallery, Lund, SwedenGroup
1989MonochromeBarbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, U.S.A.Group
1988Works on PaperNina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo, U.S.A.Group
198716 Schweizer Kunstlerdruckgraphik der 80er JahreBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandGroup
1980Not VitalGimpel–Hanover + Andre Emmerich Galleries, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
1979SommeraustellungGalerie im Schoner-Wohnen-Haus, Zurich and Locarno, SwitzerlandGroup
1971Not VitalBundner Kunstmuseum, Chur, SwitzerlandSolo