«It’s a game»: this artist turns local landmarks upside down

RHEINFELDEN
Bettina Costa creates collages in which familiar places become a surreal adventure. For this, the artist from Rheinfelden uses paper, scissors, scalpel and glue. But that is not her only form of art.

Peter Schütz — az Aargauer Zeitung
07.02.2022, 05.00

The artist Bettina Costa lives in Rheinfelden since 2006. In the photo, at her workplace. Photo: Peter Schütz

Instead of the sky, a bathing scene as in the Rhine appears above the Feldschlösschen brewery, while in the foreground a puppy gazes spellbound at a billiard ball. Opposite the old town, skiers are enjoying themselves in the sunlit snow, above the tower of the town hall rises a face with closed eyes, into which a mountaineer is sticking his peak.

And on the roof of the Red House on Habich-Dietschy-Strasse in Rheinfelden, a herd of elephants is tramping around, watched by people on a beach that leads right up to the front door. Not far from there, lives the creator of these bizarre pictures: Bettina Costa, born in Rosario, Argentina in 1965, living in Switzerland since 2001 and in Rheinfelden since 2006, adds new perspectives and stories to the «normal» view of local sights.

The collage shows the Red House of Rheinfelden in a different light. Photo: Bettina Costa

The 56-year-old artist describes the series called «Rheinfelden surreal» as a «humorous-provocative examination of my place of residence». She uses photos she took herself as a basis, the other elements she takes from magazines.

«I work very precisely, I’m picky»

There is a similar series from Budapest, two others are entitled «Intervenciones» and «Surreal Collage». «It’s a game», says Bettina Costa. A game between inspiration and ideas, perception and the courage to turn familiar things upside down. The art is not only in the pictorial arrangement, but also in the technique. Costa does not make it as easy as the end result may look like.

Some collages are created digitally on the computer in small editions, others as one-of-a-kind pieces entirely done by hand. What the artist needs: «Good paper, good scissors, a good scalpel, good glasses, good light.» Her standards are high. «It must be perfect.» Everything has to be placed appropriately, then comes the most difficult phase: gluing. Costa needs a steady hand for that.

That’s why this work is very well thought out, not at all spontaneous:

«I want things clear.»

And: «I work very precisely, I’m picky.» This also applies to painting, the second pillar of Costa’s artistic cosmos. After a figurative-realistic beginning, she turned to geometric representation. Her painting is reduced to surfaces and lines, motifs are not recognizable.

Although these paintings may also appear to be simple, they are created through long, complex processes. Costa uses tape to achieve the clarity and compositional balance she envisions with paint and brush.

Costa turns recycling into an art form

But what about the thin monochrome canvases on wooden frames, some of which measure more than three metres? In Costa’s flat, two of them hang vertically like beams on a high wall. Apart from a single colour, they contain nothing: no figures, no drawings. In this way, Bettina Costa uses them to divide the space, using architecture as a playground for a few concise interventions.

Bettina Costa mit dem Porträt ihres Mannes Toni Scherrer.
Bettina Costa with the portrait of her husband Toni Scherrer. Photo: Peter Schütz

This is the story behind: in their first life, these canvases were the stage sets of the theater in the hotel owned by the parents of Bettina Costa’s husband, Toni Scherrer, in Laufen. Instead of buying new canvases, Costa took the old backdrops stretched out on simple wooden slats and painted over them.

Thus, Costa turns recycling into a form of art. Speaking of the husband: on the staircase there is a green painting with a red faceless silhouette standing in the centre. Nevertheless, he is recognisable as Toni Scherrer. Here, too, Bettina Costa has achieved a high degree of recognition with minimal means.

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«Not always everything must take place in old town center»

Di, 30. Nov. 2021 Neue Fricktaler Zeitung (excerpt)

…The ironic, enigmatic photomontages that Bettina Costa is showing at the exhibition in Rheinfelden also give a lot to explore. In the pictures, the familiar from the cityscape of Rheinfelden mixes with the phatastic from exotic regions. In the middle of Rheinfelden in front of the Red House, for example, you can swim like in the Caribbean and above the Zwimpfer’s Pile-Up building at the Habich-Dietschy-Strasse, jellyfish float like in an underwater world…

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Well slumbered: these art pieces had to wait half a year to finally be exhibited

REGIONALE 21

In der Fabrikculture in Hégenheim konnte mit sechs Monaten Verspätung doch noch die trinationale Ausstellung der Regionale 21 eröffnet werden. 73 Künstlerinnen und Künstler aus der Schweiz, Deutschland und Frankreich präsentieren hier noch bis Mitte Juni ihre Werke. Und diese sprechen (fast) alle Sinne an.

Rahel Koerfgen
30.05.2021, 05.00 Uhr

Heller, luftiger Raum: In der ehemaligen Textilfabrik in Hégenheim erhielten die Künstlerinnen und Künstler viel Platz für ihre Werke.
Heller, luftiger Raum: In der ehemaligen Textilfabrik in Hégenheim erhielten die Künstlerinnen und Künstler viel Platz für ihre Werke – Andreas Empl

Nach diesem Winter weiss sie, was es heisst, sich in Geduld zu üben. Gerda Maise schlendert in der Fabrikculture, der ehe­maligen Textilfabrik vor den ­Toren Hégenheims, andächtig von einem Kunstwerk zum nächsten. Als die Kuratorin der Ausstellung zu sprechen beginnt, tut sie das in fast schon liebevollem Ton: «Stellen Sie sich vor, all diese Arbeiten ­haben ein halbes Jahr lang hier in der Fabrikculture vor sich hin geschlummert.» Schlecht sei das nicht, im Gegenteil, sie habe den Eindruck, die Kunstwerke seien mit der Umgebung eins geworden, eine «prächtige Harmonie» sei das.

Ein halbes Jahr lang hat Maise auf diesen Moment, auf diese Synthese der Künste, gewartet; die Ungewissheit sei nicht einfach für sie gewesen, sagt sie. Die Vernissage hätte eigentlich am 29. November 2020 stattfinden sollen, musste coronabedingt aber kurzfristig verschoben werden. Und das nicht nur ein Mal, das habe an ihren Nerven gezerrt, so Maise. Nun war es am vergangenen Sonntag aber ­soweit, die trinationale Aus­stellung in der Fabrikculture gleich nach der Grenze zu Frankreich ist eröffnet.

Die Fabrikculture in einer ehemaligen Textilfabrik vor den Toren Hégenheims.
Die Fabrikculture in einer ehemaligen Textilfabrik vor den Toren Hégenheims – Andreas Empl

Dass die Ausstellung nun im Frühling stattfindet, wertet Maise heute als Glücksfall. Jetzt fällt die Ausstellung mit den Ateliers ouverts in Hégenheim zusammen, sodass Kunstinteressierte gleich doppelt auf ihre Kosten kommen. Zahlreiche Studios im Dorf öffnen ihre ­Türen und gewähren Einblick in ihr künstlerisches Schaffen. So etwa das Künstlerduo Christine Camenisch und Johannes Fetsch, das für seine Video- und Lichtinstallationen bekannt ist. In ihrem Atelier in der Fabrik­culture taucht der Besucher denn auch rasch in eine Welt des Licht und Schattens ein; an die Wand projizierte Wellenbewegungen, Wolkenströmungen, die stets im Fluss sind, schaffen das Gefühl, in eine sagenhafte Parallelwelt eingetreten zu sein.

Auch die Ateliers in Hégenheim haben offen derzeit. Hier zu Besuch beim Künstlerduo Christine Camenisch und Johannes Vetsch, die für ihre Videoinstallationen bekannt sind.
Auch die Ateliers in Hégenheim haben offen derzeit. Hier zu Besuch beim Künstlerduo Christine Camenisch und Johannes Vetsch, die für ihre Videoinstallationen bekannt sind – Andreas Empl

Plastikabfall in der Endlosschlaufe

Auch an der Ausstellung selbst, in der 400 Quadratmeter grossen Halle, fällt eine Videoinstallation auf, wenngleich eine kleinformatigere. Auf der Ab­lage eines Holzobjekts wird in der Endlosschlaufe eine Aufnahme des mit Plastikabfall versetzten Wassers im Hafen von Rotterdam gezeigt; immer und immer wieder. Kunst, die aufrüttelt, Kunst, die ganz konkret dazu mahnt, sorgsam mit der Umwelt umzugehen. Die Künstlerin Mimi von Moos lebt sowohl in Rotterdam als auch in Basel. Vor bald zwei Jahren hat sie die ehemalige Synagoge in Hégenheim gekauft und daraus ein Kulturzentrum geschaffen. Ein Heimspiel für sie also.

Da schwimmt er, der Plastikabfall im Meer bei Rotterdam. Die Videoinstallation von Mimi von Moos und ihre ganz unabstrakte Message.
Da schwimmt er, der Plastikabfall im Meer bei Rotterdam. Die Videoinstallation von Mimi von Moos und ihre ganz unabstrakte Message – Andreas Empl

Zu den Höhepunkten der von Gerda Maise konzipierten Ausstellung gehören gewiss auch das Hölderlin-Sofa, eine Installation mit Ton vom iPod von Christine Fausten. Aber auch die Baselbieterhälften auf zehn Cortenstahlplatten, geschaffen vom Geografie-affinen Dadi Wirz, der erst vergangene Woche mit dem Spartenpreis Kunst 2021 des Kantons Basel-Landschaft geehrt worden ist. Ein paar Schritte weiter, im Zentrum des Raums, lassen blau ­gemusterten Stoffmasken auf einem Wäscheständer erstaunt inne halten. Wie auch die Werke von Susanne Lyner, ein Bild mit geworfenem Acryl, und die Skulptur aus Kastanienholz von Peter Thommen.

Die 86 Baselbieterhälften von Dadi Wirz.
Die 86 Baselbieterhälften von Dadi Wirz – Andreas Empl

Überfordert mit der Weitläufigkeit des Raums

Die Ausstellung, die neben Maise auch von Clément Stehlin von der Fabrikculture betreut wird, präsentiert insgesamt 73 Arbeiten von Künstlerinnen und Künstlern aus Frankreich, der Schweiz und Deutschland. Sie hatten die Möglichkeit, ihr Werk auf gekennzeichneten Feldern im Raum frei zu platzieren. Dies habe laut Maise einige über­fordert, «wann kann man schon in einem Raum von solcher Weitläufigkeit ausstellen?» Sie hat es in Hégenheim bestimmt geschafft, dem Geist der Regionale gerecht zu werden, indem sie einen heterogenen Überblick über das aktuelle Schaffen der Künstlerinnen und Künstler der Triregio bietet. Und dieser Überblick zeigt: Dunkle Zeiten wie Corona können der Kunst nichts. Sie blüht weiter. Oder schlummert einfach vor sich hin.


Die Regionale 21 in der Fabrikculture in Hégenheim findet noch an folgenden Daten statt: 29. und 30. Mai, 5., 6., 12. und 13. Juni, jeweils 11 bis 17 Uhr. Eintritt frei. Infos unter www.regionale.org und www.fabrikculture.net

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VULVA fanzine – Agenda 2021

Gender, alternative and independent magazine, distributed in Barcelona and Madrid

Zugerbieter Nr 36 – Collages in the smallest space

With a personal technique using collage and acrylic, the artist Bettina Costa succeeds in showing movement, passion and suggestive pictorial compositions in her works. Until Saturday 26 September, the series «Surreal Collage» from Bettina Costa is exhibited at the Kunstkiosk. About these works, the artist writes: «The series is the accidental encounter between reality and dreams.»

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View original article in German (Zugerbieter Nr 36 – Page 11 – 22-09-2020)

VULVA fanzine – Edición especial: El proceso creativo del Collage

Gender, alternative and independent magazine, distributed in Barcelona and Madrid

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEetfSJDJYl/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

VULVA fanzine – Nº 9 Superwoman

Gender, alternative and independent magazine, distributed in Barcelona and Madrid

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2xRheinfelden July/August 2020

The time their art
First, I would like to say that I am very sorry for everyone affected by COVID-19, both economically as well as in terms of health.
However, I would like to try, as far as possible, to draw something positive from this situation.

It is really a pity that so many events have been cancelled or postponed. I miss the art fairs, vernissages or museum visits without distance “paranoia”, not because of the artworks, but because of the people. But we can be happy that we live TODAY. Thanks to the digitalization, we have access to an incredible amount of things. Instead of the cancelled Open House in Basel, I was virtually at the Open House in Rosario, Argentina, my hometown. This would not have been possible before. Nor is it likely that I would have been in town for the occasion.

It is an opportunity to develop new models. Bringing new ideas to life. It is always said: “When you have everything, you don’t have to think about anything new.” Some things are no longer possible at the moment. We have to think about how to do something nice out of this situation. Man becomes inventive. As for example the neighbours of Im Kunzental in Rheinfelden, who during weeks held mini-concerts at 6 p.m. every day.

It’s a time to think: Which of all the things, that are no longer possible at the moment, are really so important? Isn’t it a liberating feeling to realize that especially material objects are no longer so necessary? We can live with much less. We identify what is necessary. The consumption mania is currently out of place.

As an artist, I enjoy this time, pulling the brakes and letting myself being inspired by this extraordinary constellation.
I also see the situation of many fellow artists in Spain. Especially in the cities, the flats are not big, have small rooms and maybe a smoking balcony. The social life usually takes place on the street. For about two months there was a lockdown. Many artists report that art helped them in these difficult times not to freak out; they got more creative, a lot was produced. But many of them live exclusively from tourism, because the Spaniards are still digesting the financial crisis. This means only income from online sales until the situation normalizes. And also after that, who knows…

Nevertheless, when I read that in the channels of Venice the water looks cleaner, or that in Mar del Plata (Mallorca of the Argentines) sea lions take control of the otherwise overrun port city, I see the positive effects of the pandemic.

Perhaps the coronavirus is a signal to ask ourselves: does it really make us happier when we run like crazy around the world?

And one last thought: let us show solidarity, let’s think of the other, protect yourself, protect yourselves, let’s all protect one another.

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View original article in German (2xRheinfelden July/August 2020)

Artwork of Bettina Costa in Budapest

Friday, 6 September 2019

RHEINFELDEN. The artist Bettina Costa from Rheinfelden now also has a public artwork at a prominent location in Budapest. This was commissioned by the Argentine Embassy. It is located on the pavement of the avenue “Andrássy út”, which belongs to the Unesco World Heritage, directly in front of the Argentine Embassy. The “Vereda” (Argentinian for pavement) was officially inaugurated by the Minister of Culture of the City of Budapest and the Argentine Ambassador.
The “Vereda del Tango Argentino – Km 11939” shows the basic steps of tango. The kilometer refers to the distance to a vereda in Buenos Aires taken as reference. Since 2016 the “Vereda del Tango – Km 11255” is located in Rheinfelden at the Kurbrunnenanlage.
In 2018 the artist participated in the Art Market Budapest with the gallery a-space. This is one of the most important art fairs in Eastern Europe. The Argentine Ambassador was so enthusiastic when he saw photos of the vereda in Rheinfelden, that he decided that he absolutely wanted one in front of his residence in Budapest. After long planning and two days of work, this amusing artwork can now be danced.

Bettina Costa was able to realize her artwork in front of the Argentine Embassy in Budapest.
Photo: Bettina Costa

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Tango time on Andrássy

28 August 2019 – 09.08 AM

The most fun in public without getting arrested

Photos by George Konkoly-Thege

Tango is included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists of neighbouring South American countries Argentina and Uruguay. This is the explanation for the mysterious footprints that appeared on the pavement outside the Argentine Ambassador’s Residence at 96 Andrássy út. The idea is that the pedestrians practise the eight basic steps of the dance right there on the spot, as it could be seen at the inauguration of the artwork on August 26, 2019.

The Ambassador of Argentina, Maximiliano Gregorio-Cernadas (1º from left) and the visual artist Bettina Costa (3º from left) at the unveiling

These “Veredas del Tango” or “Sidewalks of Tango” are to be found in various districts of the Argentine capital city Buenos Aires and have become a symbol of the “City of Tango”. The most famous Vereda, identified with “Km 0” is found at Avenida Callao 1078. The creation of Bettina Costa, the Budapest’s own “Vereda del Tango” is exactly 11939 kilometres away and thus has been designated with “Km 11939”.

I was born in Argentina, the cradle of tango, however I never paid much attention to this part of my culture. I considered tango as something “for old people”. I never thought I’d ever be interested in tango until I emigrated.

Costa explains: “At the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina was full of immigrants seeking their fortune and hoping to return to Europe or bring their families across the ocean. The tango lyrics reflect the deep feeling of loss of these immigrants and the nostalgia for the people and places they left behind. Tango helped them to forget their worries.”

I am also an immigrant; I came to Switzerland for a quite different reason. I was never homesick but perhaps unconsciously I was looking for something not to lose my roots. With tango, I found it.

The past few years she has dealt intensively with the subject tango. Besides painting, she began to work with collages and stencils, the latter influenced by street art. In 2016 she decided to implement the tango variations much more conceptually and went for the first time away from the walls with the project “Vereda del Tango”.

The first “Vereda del Tango” outside Argentina is in Rheinfelden, Switzerland, exactly 11255 kilometres away from the “Vereda del Tango – Km 0” in Buenos Aires.

Then followed carpet installations: shoe-shapes cut on carpet and arranged showing the tango steps, placed on the floor or on a wall. During the Art Basel week 2017 she presented the project “Cancha de Tango”: a rectangular rolling-grass area on the gravel showing the tango steps. The steps were marked with whiting spray like in any playing field or “cancha” (Spanish for playing field).

During the Art Market Budapest she presented the installation “Tangország”: tango steps cut on carpet and applied half on the wall, half on the floor. Additionally there was an unofficial “Vereda del Tango” outside which invited the visitors to the fair to try some tango steps.

But don’t worry people of Budapest: the artwork at 96 Andrássy út is painted on the pavement and is slip-resistant.

bettina.costa@coaster.ch
www.art.coaster.ch