Historical Context of Switzerland
Perhaps the most significant Swiss contribution to the unravelling of Modernism was the formation of the Dada movement in Zurich in 1916. Its initial members included Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Emmy Hennings, and Marcel Janco. Their headquarters, the Cabaret Voltaire, quickly metamorphosed into an prominent centre of the artistic and intellectual avant-garde, with the political neutrality Switzerland being a shelter from political instability elsewhere in Europe. Beforehand, Switzerland had produced some quirky and extraordinary artists in the Post-Impressionist era of the early twentieth century, including Ferdinand Hodler and Felix Vallotton. Another essential movement that can be connected to a Swiss artist was the ‘International Style’ of modernist architecture, pioneered by Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier might have become a French citizen in 1930, but he was born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in the Neuchâtel canton of Switzerland in 1887. Indeed, his first independent projects were realized in his hometown of La Chaux-de-Fonds, including proto modern domestic villas for affluent local clients. Important Swiss artists of the twentieth century include Jean Tingely, Alberto Giacometti, John Armleder, Pipilotti Rist and Thomas Hirschhorn.