Villa Pineta Fusio Kunsthotel Bird


As an organizer of festivals and concerts for more than 20 years in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, I cannot imagine the life of the Villa Pineta otherwise than to the rhythm of a few concerts, exhibitions, readings or projections. Because up there, on this hill, in front of Fusio theatrical setting, and surrounded by the beautiful park, the music, the words or the images will certainly take on unsuspected meanings.

Each year, throughout the summer season, a painter, video artist, sculptor, photographer, writer or musician – chosen by us – exhibits in the Villa his or her works according to his or her wishes and tastes, thus transforming the place into a small ephemeral museum. A magical experience!

Artist 2024:

Gilbert Herminjard Retrospective – to the work of a lifetime

The idea of paying a tribute to Gilbert Herminjard (1930-2022), a painter and watercolourist from the Canton of Vaud, dates back to before the reopening of Villa Pineta in July 2021. He was a dear friend who provided immense support when doubts arose and problems piled up! Will I succeed? His deep joy at the mere mention of my project helped me overcome all the vicissitudes I came across.                    

Today, it is his art, freed from all limits and constraints, that dazzles those willing to take the time to look. For it is the fate of those who have ploughed their style free from fashions to become modern in their turn, unintentionally.

Opening on 25 May, 2024 at 5pmPermanent exhibition from 17.5.2014 to 20.10.2024

‘It took Gilbert Herminjard more than 40 years before he dared to hold his first exhibition (1991). It reveals a lot about him, about his deep-seated nature, his exacting standards, and the path he took that was so essential to him. When Gilbert Herminjard shared his art with others, he was ready, his painting was there, singular, and assertive, matured internally, made from so little, but evoking so much. As he liked to say: “everything is in everything and everywhere”.

Tracing the course of his life, creating a retrospective in the true sense of the word, is impossible simply because he destroyed everything that came before. And that’s also part of his approach, part of his character. So many sketches were eliminated as soon as they were completed – three quarters of what he produced, according to one journalist – in order to keep only what corresponded “to my fibres“. We therefore know nothing of a whole section of his work (1950-1990) which he threw away since it did not correspond to what he was striving for with all his being. Some testimonies may still adorn the walls of friends and family. How tempting it would be today to look at them in order to guess the route taken. But we have decided not to reproduce these works in order to be faithful to and respectful of what the artist intended throughout his life.

Having inherited his legacy – which includes hundreds of watercolours that have never been exhibited – numerous questions arise: can we present works that are not signed? What importance should be given to the different phases of his creation? Should they be mixed? Should we bear in mind that when Gilbert Herminjard exhibited, he only showed the works of the moment, and did not go back over what had been done before?

Between 1991 and the last evidence of his work in 2013, his language continued to evolve, despite the profound unity of his style. At times he was more secret, on the verge of silence, at other times more figurative, to better capture the material, the texture of life. Finally, the colours and the use of watercolour itself brought the painter to the threshold of his final style, the culmination of an uninterrupted quest. We are left speechless and overwhelmed by this compendium of grace, strength, and serenity.

Gilbert Herminjard stopped painting because his hand no longer allowed him to say and do what he wanted. I think – with hindsight – that he also stopped because he had reached the shores he had so longed for.

Our retrospective at Villa Pineta includes, for the first time, the last works ever exhibited, produced between 2010 and 2013.’ 

Christophe Schenk

Villapineta Vign R3a7985
Villapineta Vign R3a8031
Villapineta Vign R3a7946
Villapineta Vign R3a8019
Villapineta Vign R3a8019
Villapineta Vign R3a7965 Vert
Villapineta Vign R3a7965 Vert

Artist 2023:

Caroline Schenk

Caroline Schenk (1964) lives in Bern and has her studio at the PROGR. She studied drama and directing in Paris. Since 1991, independent director, performer and video artist, she has directed and produced more than 45 interdisciplinary projects, performances and video installations in Switzerland, France, Germany, England, Australia and New Zealand.

Caroline Schenk’s works are always performances. The body, space, temporality, movement and stillness are central aspects of her artistic practice. The human presence, suggested or real, in its environment, is also an essential element.

The body becomes a critical object/subject in order to offer a playful resistance. One could speak of a melancholic conversion, as she tries to question the absurdities of present-day life by using strangeness and humor as a means to fight despair and resignation.

2023: an artististic intervention by Caroline Schenk

“I go where beauty lies, and I stay there because it is so painfully sweet.

The video performances specifically created for the Villa Pineta were all carried out in the Valle Maggia and Val Lavizarra. Starting from the element of water, the relationship between man and nature is at the centre of the artistic work.

“Hotels have windows and windows are openings that, from the inside, frame the view on the outside while we reflect ourselves in them. My video works reflect my vision and perception of the world; they are samples of reality that resemble a still life. They cast an outward look into nature and an inward look meandering through imagination and reality. I try to question what I see, without rushing to judgement, and then slightly shift and stage states and places that are permeable to magic. An attempt to indulge in contradiction while interrupting the continuity of time and space. In a world in perpetual motion, it is essential to stop. My wish is to stop time for a moment and draw attention to the discreet variations in our environment that open up a vast cosmos of thoughts and feelings.”

The exhibition catalogue is on sale at the hotel – – or direct from the artist.