2016 The Museum of Unknown Civilizations, Public Art Gallery Penticton.
2007 The Museum of Unknown Civilizations, Gallery Vertigo, Vernon, BC.
2003 A Colourful Meeting, Public Art Gallery of the South Okanagan,
A collection of my worldwide exhibitions you can find here.
What do we know about other civilizations? About all the native cultures here in Canada, and the cultural background our ancestors or we ourselves brought to Canada?
THE MUSEUM OF UNKNOWN CIVILIZATIONS (MUC)
On June 25, 2003, I made the decision to realize a dream, which I’ve had since my childhood days: I founded a personal museum, “The Museum of Unknown Civilizations”. The things that fascinated me most about museums as a child, were the objects, which had question marks attached to their labels. For example, there was the “Bear-goddess” (?); the “Fertility Idol” (?); the “Magical Statue” (?); the “Ancestral Figure” (?); the “Cultic Chalice” (?); the “Travel Amulet” (?). All these question marks became for me an invitation to immerse myself in secretive worlds and they allowed me to invent imaginative stories. It is for that child within me and within other adults that I am establishing my museum, recycling and transforming used materials into mysterious artifacts.
The first object of the museum’s collection is “The Magic Tap” I created in 2001 when I was meditating about how precious water is in the Okanagan Valley and around the world.
In 2007, I began to work on objects for an addition to the imaginary building of my museum. This section shows archeological sites.
The Museum of Unknown Civilizations (MUC) is to be found in the southern part of the Okanagan Valley in B.C. The building which houses the museum’s collection keeps on changing both its architectural shape as well as its actual location and, in this aspect, is related to mirages in the desert or castles in the air. Usually one can spot the MUC at one of the many vantage points on the arid hillsides overlooking the lush orchards and vineyards in the vicinity of the little town of Oliver, the “Wine Capital of Canada”.
Comments to my exhibitions:
From PARADIGMS FOR THE FUTURE by Glenn Clark, artist and exhibition curator (Exhibition Catalogue “The Museum of Unknown Civilizations”, PAG 2016):
“On first glance it is difficult to pin down Hutterli to a single art genre. Kurt is a multi-faced artist; a builder, a painter and a writer, often using some combination of his tool box when working on a new piece of work. There is a vein that runs through all his work through, a playfulness that only comes from a mind both intuitive and investigative. On first glance the work appears whimsical, humorous, but one should be aware of this foxy artist’s use of irony when dealing with overriding issues that affects us all; the art is sassy.
As a form of inspiration, it is important to note Dada was an artistic and literary movement that began in Zürich, Switzerland as a reaction to the First World War. Switzerland was a neutral country during the war and artists from all over Europe found their way to Zürich. This rich collection of displaces avant-garde artists working in Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism and Expressionism came together to form Dada art, an aesthetic marked by the mockery of materialistic and nationalistic attitudes. Dada artists are known for their use of everyday objects that could be presented as art with little manipulation by the artist. Dada art was a reaction to the ridiculous state of affairs by creating equally nonsensical work as a form of protest. While art forms come and go, Dada appears to be an art form with no end in sight.
It is a happy coincidence that the PAG host Hutterli’s exhibition on the 100th anniversary of the Dada movement, Switzerland’s most important contribution to the history of art.
The irony of presenting serious art based on playfulness, blurring the lines between fantasy and history, archeology and futurism, hope and despair, fiction, science fiction and non-fiction, is there for the taking. One only needs to probe beyond the rusty presentation to get a sense of the complexities that relentlessly drive Kurt to create artwork designed to broaden one’s imagination, bring awareness to and influence others like it did him when he was a child.”
A Colorful Meeting, Public Art Gallery of the South Okanagan,
Portia Priegert in “eVent ART”, July 30, 2003: OLIVER ARTIST OPENS “A COLORFUL MEETING”
“You can’t escape the vibrant color when you walk into Kurt Hutterli’s exhibition at the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan in Penticton. Rich blues, deep purples, strong yellows and dazzling reds all demand attention – whether painted on Saskatoon branches or layered over bits of recycled junk.
Hutterli’s show includes several quirky paintings done in the same dramatic hues. They feature chameleons, including one doing its best to hide in a garden of pansies.
His work has all the exuberance of a child’s fevered imagination. And talking to him later, a strong enthusiastic energy comes across, even over the telephone.
‘ I’m interested in the transforming power of imagination’, explains Hutterli, who lives near Oliver on a small organic hobby farm.
‘I like to transform things. In a way they are useless when I find them and then they come back to another kind of life.’
Hutterli has created several structures that resemble giant tropical flowers or freestanding satellite dishes. Each has a set of headphones or painted-over goggles attached to it.
Visitors can listen – to nothing – or look through the goggles – at nothing. The pieces carry thought-provoking titles as Imagine the Language of Flowers.
‘They seem to welcome pictures and sounds from the outside and then in reality it’s just the opposite. They insulate you from the external’, he says. ‘It plays a little bit ironically with this idea that you could get sounds or pictures from the outside and then you don’t.’
He’s at work on a new body of work, which has an intriguing title: The Museum of Unknown Civilizations.