Armand Schulthess, and his “Garden of Knowledge”

“He was not mad, he was just too intelligent…”

Armand Schulthess (1901-1972) est un artiste suisse, dont l’œuvre unique a été l’aménagement de sa propriété d’Auressio, dans le Tessin, en “jardin cosmogonique”. Il est considéré comme apparenté à l`art brut.
Il aménage son domaine en une sorte d’encyclopédie à ciel ouvert, obsessionnelle, bucolique et labyrinthique. Il suspend et cloue aux arbres, aux murs, à des treillis, des milliers de panneaux et de plaques descriptives artisanales traitant de tous les domaines du savoir humain, rédigées principalement en allemand et en français.

Living on his own, he began a project comprising the inventarisation of all human knowledge, by writing down referrals, annotations, quotes, etc on small plates. These lead or tin plates he attached, often bundled and interconnected with ropes, to the trees and the bushes in the big chestnut garden around the house. Paths in the garden would lead eventual visitors more or less systematically through the whole of human knowledge.Schulthess made thousands of these plates, in this way reconstructing the garden not just into a garden of knowledge, but also into creating kind of a Gesamtkunstwerk .
Inside the house he would be active in making annotations on paper about everything which can be known about human culture and history. Over the years Schulthess’ life became more and more isolated and in 1972 he was found dead in his garden. After, Schulthess’ oeuvre has been almost completely destructed . Just some of  Schulthess’ works have been saved. The Museo Casa Anatta on the Monte Verità near Ascona CH has a room with a number of these saved works. some of his works are as well located in museum of Lausanne : Collection de l’Art Brut.




For those who may be interested, there`s a beautiful documentary called J’ai le télephone (Switzerland, 1974), by Hans-Ulrich Schlumpf, which he prepared between 1963 and 1972 visiting him regularly and made a lot of pictures, both of the exterior and the interior of the house.–armand


Seda Yildiz



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