Hasta al_vista, Langstrasse!

Exhibitions 24/7: work by Leila Peacock which reflects on how we conceive of the temporal. Photograph: al_vista

For nine months now, the art space in Zurich’s Kreis 4 has been curated by the curatorial trio Kim Anni Bassen, Lourenço Soares and Aramis Navarro. At al_vista, the students are creating a fluid transition between art and the Langstrasse district via a window serving as an exhibition space.


The acrid, stale smell of alcohol rises from the wastebin on the edge of the pavement. Leftovers from last night? From across the street, 90s pop blares through the windows of the Thai karaoke bar. The beats mingle with the clinking glass bottles being cleared away a little further down the street. The art space al_vista is embedded in this urban setting: opposite the Happy Beck, within sight of the Lambada and next to the Zukunft club amid manifold cultural interactions.

Engaging with the neighbourhood

al_vista is an exhibition space curated by ZHdK fine arts students. Since early 2020, the small art space (a mere 7 square meters) in the Langstrasse district has been curated by Kim Anni Bassen, a curating student at ZHdK, and fine arts students Lourenço Soares and Aramis Navarro. The curatorial trio presents art that is related to the location of the exhibition space. “We are interested in artists who engage with this neighbourhood’s specific issues: among others, gentrification, privacy, living conditions, consumption, trade and commerce, nightlife,” explains Kim.

From “frustration” to new approaches

For the three Master’s students, curating involves not merely changing perspective but also expanding their artistic practice. “It offers space for experimentation. We can open everything up for negotiation and construct narratives. And sometimes it makes things frustrating. But from our frustration arise new approaches and solutions,” say Kim and Lourenço. Aramis also appreciates exchanging ideas and experiences with other artists, thus boosting his own practice.

The lockdown has interfered only minimally with al_vista. “We had to cancel some openings but are very privileged: Our exhibitions can be viewed 24/7, enabling us to continue as usual. The restrictions have rather motivated and strengthened us. Even before corona, we planned to integrate digital formats,” says Aramis. Considering that many artists have had to cancel shows, not leaving the room empty feels good.

Inspiration to go

Take a look in passing, stop and let your thoughts be stimulated. In the evening, in the dark of night, at the crack of dawn or when the sun peaks: No matter when, the view through the al_vista window is accompanied by sounds, smells, temperatures and other environmental influences. Every visit is different and connected to the scene — just like the art behind the glass pane.

Dienerstrasse 33, Zurich

Livia Berta (livia.berta@zhdk.ch) is doing a Master’s in Cultural Publishing at ZHdK.
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