This week we got spoiled with inspirations from many directions. Jaś Elsner visited us in Bern and we discussed his current work on copybook drawings for Coptic textiles on papyri. We got into a lively discussion about how to detect and talk about the determinacy and indeterminacy of drawings – a subject that has kept us busy since Jess Bailey’s and Corinne Mühlemann’s Drawing and Weaving workshop earlier this year.
On the following day we travelled to the beautiful city of Sion in the Valais, an hour and a half away from Bern. We were so lucky to have two excellent guides at our side – Patrick Elsig, the director of the History Museum of Sion, and Mme Zinn who showed us around the Basilique de Valère – a veritable time-machine!
Patrick Elsig led us through the current exhibition Aux sources du Moyen Age which assembles a surprising wealth of art from the first millennium found in the Valais. Also the interior design of the exhibition space is worth to be seen, as its former use as the prison of Sion is not only still palpable, but even used in an imaginative way to frame the exhibits.
The basilique de Valère and the attached History Museum are extraordinary for the richness of curious and wonderful things – be it the oldest playable organ in the world, the mill inside the church, the church treasury in the former archive of the basilique, filled with graffiti of its distracted users, or the panel showing the adoration of the magi that showed us once more in how many ways the horizon plays a central role in the imagination of the sacred and the mundane worlds.