HomeArtStarting Tomorrow, the Streets of Bienne Will Host the Arty Show with a Special Watch-Related Guest

This article was originally published when the blog was focused on Bienne, under the name Made in Bienne. The concept has since evolved to also cover the watch scene across the rest of Switzerland.

As of Wednesday, October 4th, the streets of Bienne will feel like a giant art gallery. Covering a lovely path from the train station to the old town, the Arty Show is back, for its 5th edition.

Founded in 2018, the initiative mixes public space and art by bringing together shops, restaurants and cafés across the city with artists from around Switzerland and the world. The artwork will be displayed in the storefronts across over 30 locations.

If you think the logo looks like a vegetable, you’re right. And while the pun kind of works in English or German, it’s perfect in French: “artichaud” (artichoke) is literally pronounced “arty show”.

Why, you may wonder, am I mentioning this on a blog about watchmaking? Well, this year will have as a special guest the Swatch Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Specifically, 6 of its resident artists will have their work displayed on Rue de l’Hôpital (Spitalstrasse) and Quai du Bas (Unterer Quai).

Before we go further, I just want to mention, for those who don’t know, what the Swatch Art Peace Hotel is in the first place. Inaugurated in 2011, the institution offers residencies to artists from around the world. To date, it has hosted over 500 artists from 55 different countries.

Those of you who have visited Planet Swatch, the brand’s museum in Bienne, will most likely remember the space dedicated to the Art Peace Hotel. As you can see in the pictures I took to illustrate this article, the museum showcases some of the artists’ actual works, along with watches they designed and video interviews.

Look, to the great regret / embarrassment of my Mother, who has done amazing work in the world of arts, I’m a complete tourist on the matter. So I won’t pretend here to give thoughts or insights about any of the six artists in question. But first, I will name them, in alphabetical order: Anita Gratzer (Austria), Nici Jost (Zürich), Oliver Oettli (Bienne), Mandril (Neuchâtel), Kalman Pool (China) and Yana Poppe (Holland).

Second, I want to point out that they will be joined by over 30 other artists, mostly from Switzerland, all taking part in the exhibit. The types of art include painting and photography, as you would expect, but also sculptures, video performance, installations and things I have not idea what they are like cyanotype or linocuts (I could Google them but I’d rather discover what they are live, in the streets).

The exhibit starts tomorrow with openings taking place between 5 and 7 pm. Those are open to the public, and the artists will be joining too! Everything will get wrapped up on October 29th. Setting aside how tragic it is that we have summery weather at this time of year, it should be particularly pleasant to stroll around the city over the next couple of weeks.

For key information about the show, please check out the Arty Show website. Particulary handy is this map with all the artists and locations.

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