2019 Verbier Art Summit

Verbier, Switzerland
1 – 2 February 2019

The Verbier Art Summit has released details of its programme for the 2019 Summit. From 1-2 February 2019, the third edition of the Verbier Art Summit will take place in Verbier, Switzerland, in collaboration with museum director Jochen Volz of Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Brazil, under the theme:


In times of increasing uncertainty, with the erosion of democratic principles through the manipulation and bias of social and conventional media, we are in need of a deeper understanding of the multiplicity of narratives around us.

“I truly believe in the transformative capacity of art,” states Jochen Volz. “Brexit, the recent elections in Brazil and the political shifts in the US, once again prove our increasingly binary understanding of the world. At the 2019 Verbier Art Summit, we will explore art’s readiness to hold multiple truths, and search for new ways to apply this to other fields of public life.”


The 2019 Summit speakers include artists Tania Bruguera, Latifa Echakhch, Grada Kilomba,

Ernesto Neto and Rirkrit Tiravanija; art educator Naine Terena; curator Gabi Ngcobo; philosopher Federico Campagna; Tate director Maria Balshaw; professor of neurophysiology Wolf Singer; and professor of sociology Boaventura de Sousa Santos.

Art has the potential to give voice to forgotten and silenced narratives, but also to envision new possibilities. The 2019 Verbier Art Summit will begin its exploration by questioning who is enabled to write histories. Teacher, researcher and art educator Naine Terena explains, “We are many and we are very invisible. The narratives by the Terena indigenous people of Brazil are superimposed by hegemonic discourses that insist on making us extras of our own history.”

Art joins thinking with doing. Artist Tania Bruguera uses art as a tool (Arte Util) to continually ask how art can change lives and search for new methods of engagement. In Verbier, Tania will discuss the language of politics and power in her work. The 2019 Summit will go further to probe the role of institutions in engaging with art.

Maria Balshaw, who became director of Tate in June 2017, comments, “If cultural institutions like museums are to stay relevant in the turbulent times we live in, we have to learn how to hold an open space for the contradictory, ambivalent and multiple views that emerge from the encounters between art, artists and the communities of people we engage.”

Artist Rirkrit Tiravanija will hold the 2019 Summit keynote talk, demonstrating how we can reconfigure our relationship with one another while exploring new ways of thinking that foster solidarity.

On this, Jochen Volz adds, “Together, we can shape and direct the things that are happening. Art can and should be a means by which to challenge prevailing thinking and spur individual and collective action.”


In addition to the talks programme, the Verbier Art Summit collaborates every year with cultural partners, international organisations and academic institutions to present a cultural programme throughout Verbier. In light of the 2019 political theme, the Summit is delighted to announce a new partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), working to protect and assist refugees everywhere. UNHCR will present their Lifetime Honorary Goodwill Ambassador, the acclaimed opera and jazz singer Barbara Hendricks, who will explain how art initiatives are transforming the lives of refugees.

The 2019 Summit will also feature the EPFL+ECAL Lab that fosters innovation by collaborating between Swiss Universities and international institutes. The Lab is working on an immersive environment of information, to generate a deeper understanding of information and its sources. In addition, the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève will present a film screening created specifically for the 2018 Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement. Finally, free guided tours will be organised by the Verbier 3-D Foundation in their Sculpture Park in the snow, including an experimental sculptural demonstration (test run) of AERO CAB, the latest work by Verbier 3-D’s current artist in residency James Capper.

With the aim to educate, provoke and inspire, the Verbier Art Summit welcomes those with a love for art and innovation to participate for free in its two-day programme of art talks on-site in Verbier, or online via its series of live broadcasts.

To register for the 2019 Verbier Art Summit, and for more information on the theme, speakers and the Summit’s cultural programme, please visit: verbierartsummit.org

Image: Verbier Art Summit, 2018. Copyright: Frederik Jacobovits Photography.