“There was a time, when what was novel was what always mattered. […] The novel doesn’t exist anymore. There is only what is true. Authenticity and intensity.“

“We are born with the gift of art – as a means of creation. Creation is also what we call creativity. Whether a person becomes a general, a banker, or whether a cobbler becomes a shoe manufacturer, Prada, whether someone likes motors and becomes a great engineer, all these are creative disciplines. The artist uses symbolic forms. By using symbolic forms, the artist creates pieces that are independent of progress. The best pieces of art are always contemporary, even if they are a thousand years old.”

“An artist needs conversation. Yet conversation does not happen enough. Not even college professors are really prepared to discuss things with their students. Colleagues do not do it amongst themselves either, as they don’t want to kick each other in the shins. And there is more: there is no more criticism. All that is left is information. There are reasons for this too. But this is how the artist is often left incredibly alone.”

“When one takes on the task of mediation and feels comfortable doing this, one helps the artist communicate the world he or she creates to others. If the created world is difficult to understand, the mediator can help the viewer better understand it.”

“You feel safe when you have an inner certainty. You know what you want to do, but if you have a very rigid view of what you want, if you don’t leave artists and their work any room for play, things can go wrong. And things have gone badly now and again. I wasn’t committed to a style, I was committed to quality, as far as that was recognizable then; but I have always been interested in the spectrum.”

“I feel the best art, at all times, needs explaining. That’s just the way it is.”

“Things being as they are, the museum director must have a way of recognizing early on where things are happening and what might be of relevance in the future. This must be done with much humility. Life punishes those who don’t do it that way.”

“I think mediation is the attempt to tell a story, which is understood and told differently by everyone. Everyone tells their own story.”



Artist Luciano Castellis’ Memories of Jean-Christophe Ammann

“He brought art to Lucerne and he didn’t just attend to international artists, but promoted Swiss artists especially. There was such a good atmosphere. He just brought creativity to Switzerland, which in turn influenced the city and its people.”


Excerpts from the film “The art impresario” by Edith Jud, Sternstunde Kunst 11.10.2015


The art impresario Jean-Christophe Ammann

At all times, art needs explaining: This was one of the late artist Jean-Christophe Ammann’s principles. He died in September. He helped 3 museums reach international acclaim – Lucerne, Basel and Frankfurt.

A biopic by Edith Jud.

Deceased on the 13th of September, Jean-Christophe Ammann (1939-2015) helped shape the art scene as a curator and theoretician for 50 years. He was one of the most enigmatic advocates of contemporary art. The newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung hailed him as a “lawyer” who was “not merely a defender but also a prosecutor”.

As homage to the Swiss art curator, the documentary programme Sternstunde Kunst will show Edith Jud’s 2009 biopic “The art impresario”. The movie travels with Jean-Christophe Ammann through young European art history, as well as his biography and intellectual world.



Source of text and pictures
Swiss Radio and TV (SRF), Sternstunde Kunst, 18.9.2015