Edgar Bargetze did an apprenticeship as a furniture maker and later trained in window construction (especially round and angled), carpentry and stair construction. He was a part-time youth worker for 20 years and a councillor for eight years for the political party ‘Freie Liste’ at the municipality of Triesen in the departments of culture and youth. In addition he was a part-time houseman, obtained a diploma in viticulture, did further training as a graphic designer and for the Inn keeper licence. Today he is self-employed with his brother as a carpenter in the company ‘Gebrüder Bargetze AG’. In addition to this full-time work he is, among other things, in the operating group of the Liechtenstein-Werdenberg garden cooperative, sells homemade etze liqueurs, works as a vintner, provides a good atmosphere as DJ Mangold and is a caricaturist for the carnival newspaper Moschtbölli. Edgar Bargetze lives in Triesen with his two grown-up sons. In his free time he enjoys hiking and mountaineering, painting acrylic pictures, listening to music, photography and looking after his three egg-laying chickens in his own vineyard. He is 53 years old.
Where and how did you grow up?
I grew up as the second son with two brothers, the child of a carpenter in Triesen. My father had his own company and our house was in Oberfeld next to the canal. When I was born, this area was still relatively undeveloped. At the beginning our house with the company stood on a gravel road and had its own groundwater pump and a manure box, as the area was not yet on the grid.
We therefore had ideal conditions as children. Fields, the canal and the Rhine all around. Plus the snake forest, the Badtobelrüfe and the dirt hill. A place where the old school in Triesen was abandoned, then reclaimed by nature, became our private ‘Dreckspatz’ (adventure playground).
Over the years, however, the area became heavily built up with family and multi story houses. I was then able to buy an old listed house in Triesen’s Oberdorf with my first wife, where I renovated everything myself and turned it into a beautiful house. In a great location in the upper village – the Römerstrasse in Triesen. Growing up in the field was wonderful as a child and we could do everything we wanted. But being able to live in Oberdorf now is even better in our ‘old age’…
Could you describe your professional background?
After secondary school my teachers recommended that I enrol in an art school, but I was not accepted. In the end however, I was happy because I found my destiny as a carpenter. It’s a profession I still enjoy and it made it possible for me to extend my house on my own – and that suits me anyway, because I like to work with my hands. I then caught up on my graphic design diploma by correspondence course after I had ended my political career as a local councillor due to family commitments.
Were there certain events or stages that were formative for your career?
The rejection by the art school in St.Gallen and the political situation in Triesen, which prompted me to become politically active. In addition the urging of my second wife to finally end the ‘breadless’ profession of a craftsman and to educate myself further. This motivated me to do further training in graphic design. However, I still enjoy working as a ‘breadless’ carpenter, as I do the other things on the side.
Were there certain people who were formative for your career?
My second wife and a friend from the garden cooperative with whom I started producing liqueurs. Since her departure from Liechtenstein, I have been happily running the company ‘etze Liqueurs’ myself.
Has your environment supported you in your career?
Yes, most of the time… Often I didn’t care and at times the lack of support even motivated me.
What are your current activities?
Carpenter, liqueur maker, winegrower and graphic designer. Member of the gardening cooperative Liechtenstein-Werdenberg and nude model at the Liechtenstein Art School. Also a DJ with vinyl records.
Does what you are currently doing fulfil you?
I am in the fortunate situation of only doing activities that I enjoy and that fulfil me. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
Do you think that you yourself have an influence on whether your activities are fulfilling?
I live in a country where I have the opportunities to do what I want. Because here in Liechtenstein everything is relatively small,, it is also easy to use networks and relationships.
A lot of things just come to you. You just have to use them. I don’t have any strategies, I wouldn’t know what for. Somehow it all came together.
What or who inspires you in everyday life?
No idea. Myself, my environment or the universe? Or perhaps to be able to make the impossible possible?
What or who gives you strength and energy in everyday life?
My children? The universe? Or the will to do what you like despite everything and not let adversity get you down?
Or that everything works out somehow if you just want it to?
There are ‘magic moments’ when everything seems to fit. Moments that fulfil, inspire and give strength. Moments that confirm that the effort is worthwhile and that what you do is meaningful and valuable. Have you already experienced such moments in relation to your own activities?
After the separation from my second wife, there was a magical time when I thought I was starring in a ‘sitcom’. Incredible things happened and there were coincidences where I thought someone in the background was laughing out loud and enjoying the situations I got into. Some of which were also at my expense. But I didn’t care at all. I could laugh about it myself and just marvel in disbelief. Actually, it still happens to me.
Once I wanted the universe to give me a hint on a special matter. After making the wish, I looked down at the ground and picked up a stone in the shape of a finger. In the end, it was of no use to me. But it was still a magical moment. I still enjoy the stone because it proves to me that something is guiding us. Even if it sometimes has a rather strange sense of humour…
Another magical moment was certainly when I harvested flowering spruce cones with my friend from the garden cooperative and we decided to make liqueurs out of them. In the end everything worked itself out and now I am a liqueur producer with my own company.
The decision to uproot the old Pinot Noir vines and plant a new PIWI variety was also magical I guess. I have not had to spray them yet. The vines are thriving and it’s a lot of fun. Each vine has a girl’s name and so I can communicate with them….
Having participated in exhibitions as a graphic designer. Being in the top six of a writing competition and being published in book form and being given prizes as a photographer was certainly quite magical too….
Deciding to DJ at a festival for the garden co-op also turned out to be quite magical. I since have been able to DJ at a wedding, in a disco in Chur, and at the 50th anniversary of the TAK, and of course at many a cool party or cultural event.
The job of designing and producing the Corona plexiglass walls for the state parliament was not without its challenges.
But what I remember as a super magical moment was the phone call that pulled me out of my nap and asked me if I would like to pose as a nude model for the art school. The offer was so weird that after a short period of consideration I decided to say yes. I would still regret not having said yes today….
Do you actively do something for it, so that such ‘magic’ moments can happen?
I think actively doing something for it would be wrong. It’s not that I let myself drift. I see what opportunities come my way and just take them. I think that despite the physical and mental discomfort I have sometimes had to endure, I have a great life and enjoy the magical moments that reveal themselves to me.
Are there moments when you doubt what you are doing?
Of course I sometimes doubt the meaning behind everything. But I take it as it comes. When I see what’s happening in the world and how others are doing on this planet, I think I’m lucky to have the life I have.
In retrospect, can you find something positive in difficult moments?
I have had some difficult moments in my life. However, something positive has come out of each of them.
Is there anything you would do differently in retrospect?
If I could go back in time to change something, I would know a lot of things I could do better and also some mistakes I would like to iron out, but I think it’s fine the way it happened. I was able to learn a lot from the past…
Do you want to contribute to society with your activities?
As a youth worker I was able to support the youth of Triesen. As the ‘culture minister’ of Triesen, I was able to bring the Gasometer cultural centre to life and also achieve politically quite a few other things.
My work as a farm group member in the garden cooperative and the decision to live as a vegetarian allows me to live more ecologically and to focus more on organic vegetables and sustainable living. As a DJ I want to make people feel good and able to dance with good music. As a host and beverage producer, to please people with fine organic and local drinks. I also think the Liechtenstein Art School is great and am therefore happy to help out as a nude model.
Is the recognition of other people or the public important to you?
No. It has never interested me. On the contrary. I was always a bit provocative and didn’t give a damn about the opinions of others. As long as I didn’t hurt anyone, I didn’t care. I was elected twice to the local council despite my ‘previous life’. Maybe also because I always followed my way.
How well can you live from what you do professionally?
I make ends meet. There was a time when I was made to believe that as a craftsman I was a second-class person and that earning money was the most important thing in the world. I’m glad that I’m still working full-time as a carpenter. The job fulfils me. I enjoy going to work in the morning and in the evening I see what I have achieved and enjoy the result.
Is there something that is particularly occupying you at the moment?
Global warming. Social justice. Global politics. The gap between rich and poor. Food Waste. Environmental pollution. The problems of women, transgender and oppressed people. Right-wing radicalism etc. etc. It seems important to me to stand up for these matters.
What are you most grateful for in life?
That I live in a country where I’m doing well and don’t have to fight for survival, but still have time to engage with important things in life. (Though I could do without the sovereign…). That I have great children whom I enjoy and that I have the opportunity to live my life the way I want to.
Laura Hilti, April 2021
Pierre Rey, Der Gnom von Zürich
Heinz G. Konsalik, Ein Mann wie ein Erdbeben
Dan Simmons, Hyperion 1 & 2
Edward Abbey, Die Monkey Wrench Gang
Frank Schätzing, Der Schwarm & Limit
Walter Moers, Kapt’n Blaubär, Der Schrecksenmeister, Die Stadt der träumenden Bücher & Rumo
All photos: Edgar Bargetze
This interview is part of the project ‘Magic Moments’ by Kunstverein Schichtwechsel, in which people are interviewed about their careers, activities and their magical as well as difficult moments.
Curated by Stefani Andersen and Laura Hilti, Kunstverein Schichtwechsel.
Supported by Kulturstiftung Liechtenstein and Stiftung Fürstl. Kommerzienrat Guido Feger.
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