Die Moderne im Kleinen

A sensual architectural exhibition about St.Gallen in the 1930s
June 20 – July 18, 2020

In June/July 2020 the exhibition DIE MODERNE IM KLEINEN (modernity on a small scale) turned to a phase of St.Gallen’s architectural history that has been widely overlooked: the 1930s. This decade was the starting point of modern architecture in St.Gallen. 'New Buildung' ('Neues Bauen') with its functional design language found its way into the crisis-ridden city of Art Nouveau. The few new buildings that were created in this period have nevertheless left their mark on the city up until today. This exhibition, which was initiated by Nina Keel, presented them more closely for the first time. 

DIE MODERNE IM KLEINEN was shown in several shops and attics of the Linsebühl building, the biggest building complex of the 1930s in St.Gallen. The exhibition looked at the forms and functions of the buildings and presents plans, historical and topical photographs, letters, articles and corresponding buildings from Zurich, Stuttgart or Tel Aviv. 

Five contemporary artists and two artists from the 1930s’ avant-garde brought to light some of the less well-known aspects of New Building: Siegrun Appelt’s indoor photographs showed so-called empty visions of the architecture of the Linsenbühl building. Together with textile designer Martin Leuthold, Appelt created silk foulards on the topic of the building. With the help of colourful glas objects and a large-scale painting, Andrea Heller changed the violin maker workshop on Linsenbühlstrasse into a time-transcending work of art. Felix Bächli was scating along Schubertstrasse, passing houses with cubic shapes. Within a funnel, Nadine Kunz presented photographic montages of Tel Aviv buildings. An avant-garde film by Man Ray was shown in an attic room. Last but not least one got lost in a caleidoscopic play of colours and shapes created by New Zealand artist Len Lye in 1935. In this way, the exhibition could be seen as a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, taking the viewer on a trip through various levels of time within the Linsebühl building.

In addition: a musical compilation by Marina Spörri, books on architecture from Sitterwerk, cocktails by Philipp Grob (Cocktails&Bitters), a perfume by Giovanni Sammarco, furniture and lamps by Silvio Cazorzi (retrovare). 

Location: Linsebühl-Bau, Linsebühlstrasse 25, St.Gallen

Exhibition: Saturday, 20th June – Saturday, 18th July 2020

Opening: Saturday, 20th Juni, 1-5 p.m.

Opening hours
Thursday: 3–8 p.m.
Friday: 12 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 1-5 p.m. 

Hochparterre, 14th May 2020 
Modulor, 3rd May 2020
Beobachter, 9th April 2020
Saiten, 22nd November 2019

With the support of: 


Photography and film in public spaces

stadtprojektionen (city projections) is a multipart project by Anna Vetsch and Nina Keel, which enables new visions of several neighbourhoods in St.Gallen: photographic and silent film pieces of regional, national and international artists are projected onto walls in public spaces, leading to temporary visual changes of the city scape. The carefully adjusted projections are supposed to affect their environments into daytime, stimulating reflections on the city with regard to its history and present as well as to its architectural, cultural and social dimensions. 

Contributing artists of the last three editions of stadtprojektionen were Jonas Dahlberg, Shirana Shahbazi, Uriel Orlow and Maya Rochat.

Building in Crisis

Lecture at the Palace

In 1940, some architects and art historians published an album with the title “Modern Swiss Architecture” which is about one single building from St.Gallen – an access balcony building designed by Moritz Hauser who had worked as an architect in St.Gallen and Zurich from 1933 onwards. St.Gallen had not been a leading player in the fields of economy and architecture in the 1930s. Within the Palace series “Our friends explain their findings” Nina Keel describes which of St.Gallen’s buildings were designed in the 1930s.

Palace, Blumenbergplatz, St.Gallen
Tuesday, 18th Februar 2020, 8:15 p.m.

From Historicism to New Building

Guided tour for schools

In St.Gallen, a stylistic turn took place in the middle of the textile crisis: from Art Nouveau and opulent historicism to New Building (Neues Bauen) with its reduced design language.

The guided tour took the audience from the Palace cinema (1924) to the building Brückenwaage (1933), past the historical frontage buildings at Brühltor (around 1900) to the Linsenbühl-Bau (1930-1933), a small city within the city. It focused on features of urban planning, on their social and economic background as well as on questions of transport.

March 2020, guided tour for schools

Illuminated Lachen

Nocturnal guided tour on phenomena of light

A nightly tour through the Lachen area took the audience to various phenomena of light within this St.Gallen neighbourhood. It focused on the urban qualities of the various light objects as well as on their colours and functions. 

Commissioned by Cultural Heritage Preservation of the City of St.Gallen (European Heritage Days)
Meeting Point: square in front of the Church of St. Otmar, Vonwilstrasse 10, St.Gallen
13th and 14th September 2019, 8 p.m., appr. 75 min.