I cannot count the number of times I passed by the Jedlitschka Gallery since I moved to Zurich. I always admired the art displayed from the outside and never took the time to go inside.
That changed over a week ago when a couple of sculptures placed in the alley way caught my eye. I decided to look further and discovered an entire backyard filled with sculptures! Some were about to be unwrapped but others had already been revealed. I felt so excited as if I had made a major discovery! So I proceeded to enter the gallery and was greeted by the gallery owner, Martin Jedlischka. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by his taste in clothes and accessories!
I asked him if I could stop by later for an interview and he said he would get back to me once he checked out my blog! Understandably so. He needs to protect the image of his gallery by carefully selecting the platform and publications he collaborates with. You can imagine my delight and pride when I received an invitation to come back!
I know you just had a very successful Vernissage, but for the purpose of this interview, I would like to focus on you and art in general! Were you destined to become an art gallerist?
Not at all! In fact I was studying economy. To do what with it? I have no idea but at the time, it was a good subject to study. I really disliked it and was not very good at it!
My parents weren’t in the art world either. My mother was business savvy and quite a visionary for her time. She is the one who introduced and imported blue jeans to Switzerland, in 1948. She saw them on GIs and instantly recognized their market potential. My father on the other hand was an intellectual and led Swiss radio.
To make money, I worked at a theater. There I discovered Socialism and the art of sharing!
I’m sure those times were very interesting times in Zurich! Can you describe the atmosphere?
It was a time of change, of social awareness and social disruption. I experimented with social and artistic boundaries, ideas, always driven by passion and freedom. I rebelled against Status Quo and instilled belief systems.
Zurich was historically an incubator for revolutionary political and artistic movements. And one of the movements I was especially thrilled with was the Gay movement. Some of the biggest and greatest artistic changes in Zurich developed during that period. It was amazing to watch unfold and be part of it.
I want to go back to your entry into the Art world. How did you penetrate a world normally closed to outsiders in a time where everything was changing and new rules were being established?
My uncle Karl Guldenschuh, a famous painter, died in 1991 and left behind an atelier full of art. He was a great man who taught me a great deal about art while growing up. I always watched him make his craft and interact with important writers and painters. Upon his death I became increasingly interested and involved in art. In 1999, I inherited his collection and opened my first gallery on Seefeldstrasse 48 where I mainly focused on experimental art.
And to answer your question, I got lucky!
I would say so! Tell me now about your philosophy on art and what moves you.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that people want to be moved by art and they buy stories, not just an image or an artist. Art needs to be fun but in my opinion it also needs to make a statement. The 90’s personified innovation, outside the box thinking and boundary pushing. There weren’t any politically incorrect ideas or statements. Anything and everything went.
Unfortunately, things are different today. First, people get bored easily because most artistic innovations happened in the 90’s and the message is much more censored. Second, prices have gone up exponentially and the market decides on what is Hot and what is not. There seems to be less empathy amongst the younger generation. They mainly care about about making a good investment. Sadly, this mentality generates isolation amongst everyone.
How sad. But are you optimistic about the future of your gallery?
Absolutely! I’m extremely hopeful and positive! My gallery is not traditional and I tend to push buttons to see how far I can go. I like a good challenge!
The artists I work with have been with me for many years. I know what works for me and what doesn’t. Contemporary Figurative Art works best in my gallery. I offer a wide price range that does not alienate those with less purchasing power. My biggest fight is the fight for dignity. So anything that I do or plan evolves around this principle.
I also really hope that more people will be interested in living with Art and not just collecting it.
If you had to go back in time, what would you do differently?
I would study something other than Economy!! Otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing! I am a very lucky guy who lives from his passion.
One last word about In & Out, your latest exhibit?
We just opened our latest exhibit called In & Out, “Has art ever been as free as it is today?”. The gallery has turned into a garden of sculptures from 19 different artists pondering upon that question.
Sculpture Exhibition: In & Out, 28. May to 22. August 2015.
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