February 18, 2019

What I Did On My Winter Vacation, or “Elevation 1049” @ Hyperallergic

GSTAAD, Switzerland — Why travel to the Swiss Alps, if not for the benefits of breathing some rareified air? Elevation 1049 is a biennial now in its third iteration, produced by the Luma Foundation, and seeks to gather art world glitterati in the mountain town of Gstaad for a singular art festival experience — this year around the theme “Frequencies.” Whether exclusivity is the explicit agenda of Elevation 1049, the setting ensures that attendees will be either highly curated or independently wealthy, or just very dedicated hikers.

Previous iterations of the festival — co-curated, as in previous years, by Neville Wakefield and Gstaad native Olympia Scarry, who is unquestionably the impetus for staging Elevation in this exotic setting — presented a combination of experiential and semi-permanent sculpture and installation works, including a Sarah Morris special edition of the train that connects Zweissman and Montreaux (and by which Gstaad is accessible), that continues to run through the landscape. But for Gstaad 2019, organizers took a bold and risky tack, with the bulk of festival programming comprised of 10 works of performance art, taking place over the course of opening weekend (February 1–3), anchored by only one ongoing installation: Mirage Gstaad by Doug Aitken.

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