POPULAR ART IN SWITZERLAND VOLKSKUNST IN DER SCHWEIZ ARTS POPULAIRES EN SUISSE René Creux [Deutscher Text: Seite 557] [Texte frangais: page 559] The artist and writer René Creux attracted attention some years ago with a book about Swiss inn signs (Graphis 104). He has since extended his researches to a much wider field of folk art and has recently published a richly illustrated work on popular art in Switzerland {Arts Populaires en Suisse, Editions de Fontainemore, Paudex, Vaud). The book is available in French and German versions and contains texts by leading authori ties on the various fields of folk art, from furniture and pottery to masks and playing- cards. We reproduce on the following pages a selection of items from this work, with an introductory text by the author. Editor Der Graphiker und Schriftsteller René Creux wurde vor einigen Jahren bekannt durch die Veröffentlichung eines Buches fiber Schweizer Wirtshausschilder (Graphis 104). Seither hat er den Bereich seiner Studiën erweitert und kfirzlich ein reich illu- striertes Werk fiber die Volkskunst in der Schweiz herausgegeben. (Editions de Fon tainemore, Paudex, Vaud). Das Buch ist in französischer und deutscher Sprache erhalt- lich und enthalt Texte von ffihrenden Fachleuten auf den verschiedenen Gebieten - von Möbeln fiber Keramik und Masken zu Spielkarten. Wir zeigen auf den folgenden Seiten eine Auswahl von Illustrationen aus diesem Buch mit einem einffihrenden Text des Autors. Redaktion L'artiste et écrivain René Creux s'est signalé il y a quelques années par un livre sur les enseignes d'auberges suisses (Graphis 104). II a depuis lors élargi le champ de ses études et publié récemment un ouvrage richement illustré intitulé Arts populaires en Suisse (Editions de Fontainemore, Paudex, Vaud). Ce livre est disponible en francais et en allemand et comprend des textes de spécial istes dans les différents domaines de l'art populaire, des meubles et de la poterie aux masques et aux cartes. Nous reprodui- sons sur les pages suivantes une sélection d'illustrations tirées de eet ouvrage, avee une introduction de l'auteur. Ea rédaction At first glance, 'Swiss Popular Art' might seem a simpler and more satisfactory title for this work; but it would be inaccurate, for Switzerland is not a uniform whole. Instead, it is a conglomeration of racial groups of markedly different origins, corresponding to the German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic linguistic divisions. These are all linked to the cultures of surrounding countries, but they united in the past in order to defend their freedom the better and to further their common economic interests. The history of popular art in this country is conse quently closely interconnected with the different origins of the various sectors of the population and with their neighbourly relations through the centuries. Folk art thrives primarily in country parts, even though it survives to some extent in urban areas. In Switzerland it was first shaped by the customs of Alpine herdsmen, though its roots reach back into prehistory. Folk art follows the annual repetitive ritual of the cosmos, it obeys the laws of cyclic regeneration, living against a background of good and evil spirits whose power can be increased or weakened by noise and movement. At this stage, folk art indulges in extreme patterns of behaviour such as are still found in some of the seasonal customs of the Lötschental and of 552 Central Switzerland. These transition rites are often based on superstitious beliefs of the strangest kind and are closely interwoven with seasonal feasts and with the celebration of births and deaths, engagements and weddings. Since the creative mind is only found in the individual, popular art is primarily individual art, yet it is at the same time a collective art which rises among the people and is cut to their requirements. The herdsman and the farmer produce different types of art. The farmer tends to be constructive, while the herdsman expresses himself in ritual forms, employing free rhythms in his decorative treatment. The 'higher' forms of art are more subject to thought and reason, while popular art is moti vated by feeling. Wherever popular art accepts formal distinctions and absorbs foreign styles, it tends to lose its freedom, naturalness and imagi native power. Wherever a folk artist can work in an epic vein on material borrowed from legend, he feels at home and can give his fantasy free rein, for he is borne along by occult myths and interpretations of the forces of nature. The radical changes that have taken place in the social and economic relationships connecting town and country have combined with the de-

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