Armand Schulthess, Der Garten des Wissens (The Garden of Knowledge)

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About the Artist/Site

After running a women’s clothing shop in the 1920s and 1930s, Swiss native Armand Schutlhess went into government service. When he retired in 1951 he moved to his country home in Auressio, Switzerland.

Working with the idea of capturing all human knowledge, Schulthess gradually converted his home and large garden into a Gesamtkunstwerk (German for “an encyclopaedic or comprehensive artwork.”) He inscribed thousands of texts on to small, circular lead plates and the ends of varnished tin cans, then suspended them—sometimes with interconnecting ropes—in the trees and bushes of his garden.

He collected knowledge inside his house as well. He assembled handwritten notes about human culture and history into large packets, eventually assembling a vast library of his own bundled texts. He also composed illustrated books about topics such as geology and psychoanalysis, and collected books on sexuality, married life, and graphology.

Schutlhess died suddenly in 1972. The following year his heirs destroyed most of his collections, both in the garden and in his home. Only a few items were saved, and are now included in the collections of two Swiss museums—the Art Brut Museum in Lausanne, and the Museo Casa Anatta in Monte Verità.

~Henk van Es

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Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Isorno, Ticino, Switzerland
Latitude/Longitude: 46.201027 / 8.684632


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