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A sculpture by Max Weiss at the new headquarters of the biomedical research Institutes in Bellinzona

The art sculpture 'Le tre streghe' by Max Weiss at the new IRB and IOR headquarters in Bellinzona
The art sculpture 'Le tre streghe' by Max Weiss at the new IRB and IOR headquarters in Bellinzona
The art sculpture 'Le tre streghe' by Max Weiss at the new IRB and IOR headquarters in Bellinzona
The art sculpture 'Le tre streghe' by Max Weiss at the new IRB and IOR headquarters in Bellinzona

Institutional Communication Service

The sculpture Le tre streghe (Three Witches) by Swiss artist Max Weiss finds a new home thanks to a long-term loan agreement between the Foundation for the Institute of Research in Biomedicine (IRB) and the Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana (MASI Lugano). The work was installed on November 18, 2021 in the green area of the new headquarters of IRB and IOR (affiliated to USI), which will be officially presented to the public on November 27.

The work of art, which for several years was located in the courtyard of the MASI exhibition venue at Palazzo Reali in Lugano, will now also be visible to anyone passing by the new biomedical research facility in Via Francesco Chiesa in Bellinzona. Through this collaboration, the sculpture can be enjoyed by the popoluation and dialogue with the modern building designed by architect Aurelio Galfetti, who had previously designed Weiss's installation at the Casa Rusca in Cureglia in 1993.

Le tre streghe, an oeuvre created during his senior years, re-proposes concepts that have always been the main focus of Max Weiss's artistic research. His sculpture, deeply rooted in the concept of monumentality, develops around the search for formal simplification of the animal and human figure, primarily the female figure. His work is a synthesis of the classicism of Aristide Maillol, passing from the late cubist lesson of Henri Laurens to the organic naturalistic suggestions of Henry Moore. His sculptures feature smooth and dilated volumes that interpenetrate, giving life to monumental figures that appear disjointed, from which a primordial energy seems to spring, with archaic references. Large rounded forms contrast with straight lines and angular shapes, combined in balances that seem precarious, which contribute to create a powerful tension and give the work a dramatic monumentality.

The work will thus add further value to the new building, which was realised through the essential support of the City of Bellinzona, the Canton of Ticino, the Swiss Confederation, and the Helmut Horten Foundation. The new facility accommodates the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) and the Institute for Oncological Research (IOR), both affiliated to USI, and the translational research laboratories of the Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC).

The artist

Max Weiss (1921-1996) is one of the leading Swiss sculptors active between the 1940s and 1990s. Between 1935 and 1939 he trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Lucerne, where he turned his attention to sculpture. In 1945 he settled in Ticino, first in Cassina d'Agno and two years later in Tremona, where he worked for the rest of his life, devoting himself mainly to sculpture in bronze and stone and, from the late 1960s, also in aluminium. From 1954 onwards, he won the Federal Fine Arts Scholarship three years in a row. He then took part in many collective exhibitions and held solo shows in Switzerland and abroad, namely the ones held in Madrid (Museo del Prado, sala dell'Ateneo) in 1963, in Barcelona (Palacio della Virreina) in 1964 and in Martigny (Fondation Giannadda) in 1991. Since this period, private collectors and public institutions have been interested in his oeurve and his works have been installed in urban spaces in many Swiss and foreign cities.

MASI Lugano

The Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana (MASI Lugano), founded in 2015, in just a few years has established itself as one of the most visited art museums in Switzerland. In its two locations - at the LAC Lugano and at the historic Palazzo Reali - the MASI offers a rich variety of exhibitions, including temporary exhibitions and ever new collections, complemented by a multilingual cultural mediation programme for visitors of all ages. The MASI features also the Giancarlo and Danna Olgiati Collection - part of the MASI circuit - entirely dedicated to contemporary art. MASI is one of the Swiss museums supported by the Federal Office of Culture and is also one of the "Art Museums of Switzerland", the group of museums selected by Switzerland Tourism to promote the country's cultural image around the world.