| SPECIAL EVENTS 2024 | Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn: Artist - Researcher


Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn: Artist - Researcher

Available downloads:
CasaRusca-Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn-2024-poster.pdf
CasaRusca-Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn-2024-flyer-IT.pdf
CasaRusca-Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn-2024-flyer-EN.pdf
CasaRusca-Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn-2024-brochure.pdf

Casa Rusca Museum in Locarno presents a first retrospective exhibition of Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn (1881-1962), a precursor artist of abstraction of international importance. For the first time, works representative of the artist's various stages of research will be presented in a single exhibition, curated by Raphael Gygax: a selection of works from her abstract paintings ("meditation plates," 1926-34), figurative pencil and gouache drawings ("visions," 1934-38), and excerpts from her "Eranos archive for research on symbolism" (1934-44).

In the case of Carl Gustav Jung, who was among the main inspirers of the Eranos Conferences , the publication of the Liber Novus or The Red Book, as well as even more recently of The Art of C.G. Jung and of his Black Books, helped to further highlight the conjunction between his personal life path, his imaginative world, and the construction of his scientific thought. Until now, some allusions by Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, the creator of the Eranos symposia, about the link between life and work, on the other hand, have instead sounded less comprehensible. For example, she stated: “The story of Eranos can be found in an unwritten book, which I often leaf through, read, examine, and compare – I also look at the pictures, since there are many of them in this book – and search for the connections that form the whole in a meaningful and unifying way. The overall figure, the pattern that becomes visible, is so twisted and intertwined with the pattern of my life that it is indeed difficult to separate them.”

Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn’s evocative words become clearer today in light of the unpublished anthology of her artworks, which we might rubricate under the name “Blue Book,” traceable to two distinct periods. The first phase is inherent in a series of 127 “Meditation Plates,” painted between 1926 and 1934: these images are expressed through a geometric rigor, eschewing any naturalism of form and a choice of predominantly cold colors, where there is a basic color contrast between black (shadow, negative, death) and gold (light, positive, life) on a blue background. Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn’s artistic practice gradually changed from the early 1930s. As a result of her deepening of Analytical Psychology and her relationship with Jung, her production in fact increasingly turned toward a figurative style that recalled the active imagination, to which the works of the second period can be traced: a collection of 315 “Visions,” arranged in 12 blue-bound albums, drawn between 1934 and 1938. These are the crucial years of the start of Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn’s cultural enterprise, her enduring intellectual relationship with Jung, and her search for iconographic material, entrusted to her by Jung himself, which led to the creation of the Eranos Archive for Research on Symbolism.

Convinced that “The deepest things in human life. . .can only be expressed in images,” Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn documented in the Blue Book the forms of imagination of a creative and independent subjectivity, capable of holding together the identities of woman, mother, scholar, artist, and spiritualist. Because of the care with which it was drawn, collected, and preserved, Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn perhaps hoped that her Blue Book would survive her and allow the generations that would follow her to rediscover and make it their own, as a special attestation of that endless search for self, at once personal and universal, that Jung would theorize with the idea of “individuation process”.

The growing interest of the contemporary art world and academia in Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn’s artworks is also documented by a series of exhibitions of global significance promoted in recent times, under the auspices of the Eranos Foundation, by the Trussardi Foundation in Milan in 2015 (“The Great Mother”), the New Museum in New York in 2016 (“The Keeper”), the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2021 (“Elles font l'abstraction”), the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 2021-2022 (“Mujeres de la abstracción”), the Kunsthalle in Mainz in 2023 (“Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn. Tiefes Wissen”), and now, for the first time in Switzerland, the Casa Rusca Museum in Locarno in 2024-2025 (“Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn: Artist – Researcher”). The organization of these important exhibitions went hand in hand with the publication of related Catalogs, which also documented a gradual dissemination of Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn's works, in anticipation of a future critical edition of these materials by the Eranos Foundation.

The exhibition "Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn: Artist - Researcher," on view at the Casa Rusca Museum from August 8, 2024 to January 12, 2025, will open on August 7, 2024, in conjunction with the opening of the Locarno Film Festival 2024. The exhibition catalog includes texts by Yasmin Afshar, Riccardo Bernardini, Raphael Gygax, Fabio Merlini and Sara Petrucci, with an introduction by Nancy Lunghi and Sébastien Peter.

Previous article
Next article
Eranos Foundation
Via Moscia 125
C.P. 779
6612 Ascona

Phone: +41 (0) 91 792 20 92


your name

your e-mail address