Pascal Schwaighofer

Visual Artist
Postdoctoral Fellow at Franklin University Switzerland
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Cornell University
Mellon Graduate Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University (2022-23)

La madonna dei tulipani, 2016
Charcoal on asphalt
Dimensions variable

Exhibition view: Public Art in Zürich, Gasträume ‘16, Maagplatz, Zürich

“Like a street artist, Pascal Schwaighofer adorns the square in front of Prime Tower with a large chalk drawing, which he regularly renews. This drawing shows tulip motifs that have been borrowed from 16th-and-17th-century Dutch painting. The passers-by can observe the artist’s working manner; rain and usage of the public space cause the image to disappear again.

With his tulip image, Schwaighofer addresses the topic of financial speculation from the cultural-historical perspective in (over-)capitalised Zurich. The link to Madonna paintings formulated in the title refers to 16th-century Italian street painters’ “madonnari”, which paid homage to Mary. In turn, the tulip as a subject is a reference to so-called tulip mania: a synonym for the first recorded financial bubble in history and a famous economics lesson on the catastrophic societal consequences of speculative trading, which occurred in the Netherlands during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. Pascal Schwaighofer’s Madonna dei tulipani is a continuation of his multi-part project Economimesis, which he has been working on since 2013. Taking Jacques Derrida’s essay of the same name as a basis, the artist examines the link between aesthetic concepts and economic regulatory cycles.”

Pressrelease Public Art in Zürich, Gasträume ‘16.

Photo: Anna Francke