‘Martin Disler in his studio in Paris, 1984’
Martin Disler in his studio in Paris, 1984

Martin Disler’s exhibition Invasion durch eine falsche Sprache (Invasion by a False Language) at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1980 brought a sudden international breakthrough. In quick succession his work was showing in New York at the Museum of Modern Art (1981), documenta 7 in Kassel (1982), in London at the Tate Gallery and in Amsterdam at the Stedelijk Museum (1983), in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1984) and the Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo (1986).

 

Self-taught, Disler unleashed his restless creative energy in drawings, paintings, graphic works and sculptures. He continually broke with artistic convention—for example, in 1981 with his 140 x 4.5 metre (460 x 14¾ foot) monumental painting Die Umgebung der Liebe (The Surroundings of Love), which is now a Swiss cultural asset of national importance owned by the Gottfried Keller Foundation.

 

Parallel to his work as a material artist, Disler also produced penetratingly powerful literary works, including the novel Bilder vom Maler (Pictures of a Painter), and contributed texts to more than a dozen artists’ books. Literary references frequently feature in his pictures—such as in the watercolour series of over 300 works “Arbeiten für den langen nassen Weg” (Works for the Long, Wet Road) in which the artist references poems by Fernando Pesoa, most of which are in the collection of the Kunstmuseum Basel.

 

An anticipation of death and the momentary pangs of hunger for life tend to permeate Disler’s oeuvre and surface as an illusionless vision of the conditio humana. Influenced by mysteriously oppressive worlds, emotional and bodily sensations seem to be transposed directly as motifs to the canvas. The artist’s intoxicating restlessness and obsessive creative frenzy provoke the deliberately sought-after overtaxing of himself and his audience by way of an opulent abundance of works. The artist believed that the paintings should remain open; that the audience should be embraced and engulfed by the painting and sink into it.

 

Martin Disler was born in 1949 in Seewen (Switzerland). A restless traveller, he lived in New York, Zurich, Paris, Amsterdam, Les Planchettes and Lugano, among other places. He died on 27 August 1996 at the age of 47 as a result of a cerebral stroke.

 

The Buchmann Gallery in Berlin and Lugano has represented the estate of Martin Disler since 2013. In the last five years, several major exhibitions have testified to the continued relevance of Disler’s work: Kunsthalle Bielefeld (2016), the Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden in Wuppertal, the Bündner Kunstmuseum in Chur (both 2019) and the Kirchner Museum Davos (2020). The publication of comprehensive monographs alongside these exhibitions has sought to explore the artist and his work.

 

The Estate of Martin Disler

born 1949 in Seewen/CH, died 1996 in Geneva.

Solo Exhibitions

2022
2018
2017
2016
2014
2013
2007
2006
2005
2004
2001
1999
1998
1997
1994
1993
1992
1990
1989
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1978
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970

Group Exhibitions

2021
2020
2019
2018
2016
2015
2006
2005
2004
2003
2001
1998
1997
1995
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
Selected Collections

Kunstmuseum Aarau

Sammlung Barbier Müller Genf

Emanuel Hoffmann Stiftung, Basel

Kunstmuseum Basel

Kunstmuseum Bern

Kunsthalle Bielefeld

Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen

Gottfried Keller Stiftung Zürich

Kunstmuseum Chur

Graphische Sammlung ETH, Zürich

Museum Folkwang, Essen

Groninger Museum, Groningen

Musée des Arts et Histoire, Genève

Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel

Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf

Musée des Beaux Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds

Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg

Lenbachhaus, München

Stiftung Sammlung Marx, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin

MoMA, New York

Musée des beaux-arts, Neuchâtel

Kunstmuseum St Gallen

Universität St.Gallen

Musée cantonal des Beaux Arts, Lausanne

Muséé des beaux-arts, Le Locle

Kunstmuseum Luzern

Sammlung Nationale Basel

Kunstmuseum Olten

Museum zu Allerheiligen, Schaffhausen

Kunstmuseum Solothurn

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Tate Gallery, London

Sammlung Nationale Basel

Museum moderner Kunst, Wien

Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Wien

Kunstmuseum Zürich