David Tremlett: A private house
Gallery owner: Dabbeni Contemporary Art Center, Lugano
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Three chapels by David Tremlett in Calanca Valley, Switzerland
THEMA rivista dei beni culturali ecclesiastici 10/20, Centro studi Architettura e Liturgia
by Andrea Jasci Cimini
Surrounded by the mountains up to 3000 m high of the Adula Alps, Val Calanca is one of the Italian-speaking areas of the Canton of Grisons. Composed of five municipalities, it has a population that in total is less than a thousand inhabitants. This small community, in recent years, has distinguished itself on the international scene for innovative activities to enhance the landscape, historical and cultural heritage. Rossa, the highest village in the valley, started in 2012 a process of restoration of the ancient agricultural terraces and the ancient inhabited area of the Scata area. This allowed for the construction of an overview of the vestiges of what was an Alpine settlement of the sixteenth century. At the same time, a particular artistic ferment has allowed a small mountain village to become an important destination in the world of contemporary art.
Leaving open the debate on the opportunity and methods of contemporary artistic operations on historic buildings, the case of Rossa allows us to reflect on the ability of color to radically modify the perception of an architectural object and renews the act of drawing on the wall that it is one of the founding actions of art and sacred art. Tremlett's work represented an important experience for the population of the valley who actively followed the construction phases and became aware of how contemporary art can enrich the identity of a wonderful territory that needs to be told in order not to fall into oblivion. The built-up area of Rossa is the last village in the valley; it is not a place of passage, but it is necessarily a destination.
The presence of important works by international artists certainly encourages tourism and opens new perspectives to people who decide to stay and live in the town.
David Tremlett trained at Falmouth and Birmingham Art School and the Royal College of Art. In the early 1970s he became famous as part of the "New Art" generation. He has exhibited his works all over the world. In 1992 he was selected for the Turner Prize.