Private recordings on cassette by Hans Krusi (from the Anton Bruhin collection).
“While preparing a new edition of Anton Bruhin works, Alga Marghen discovered some mysterious tapes by Hans Krüsi. Fascinated by the raw and brute contents of those sounds, mixing field recordings of insects, sheep and distant bells with primitive chanting, percussive noises and distorted radio folk songs, Alga Marghen started to conceive one of the most obscure editions in his catalog. The Swiss-born, self-taught painter Hans Krüsi (1920-1995) was a wiry man who eked out an existence on the margins of society. Even among outsider-art experts, his work is less well known than that of his Swiss compatriot Adolf Wölfli, who died in 1930 and whose richly patterned drawings have become treasures of classic European art brute, or raw art, made by untrained, visionary artists. Krüsi was orphaned as an infant and brought up on a farm in northeastern Switzerland by foster parents who largely ignored him. He scraped by with odd jobs (including gardening work) and eventually settled in the city of St. Gallen. There Krüsi lived in run-down buildings. In his late 20s, he began commuting by train almost daily to Zurich, to the west, where he sold flowers and, later, his artworks, on the Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most luxurious shopping streets in Europe. Among the wall-to-wall clutter of Krüsi’s ramshackle lodgings, where pigeons flew in and perched, evidence of an unexpectedly experimental spirit abounded, including Krüsi’s old cameras and the second-hand tape recorders with which he liked to capture the sounds of birds, insects and church bells. The artist’s inventiveness and fertile imagination seemed to contrast sharply with his humble way of life. Krüsi took subjects from the agrarian world that he knew: alpine farmhouses, forested mountains, cows, birds, rabbits and cats. In his varied oeuvre, the folkloric and the psychedelic often appear to converge. Some works are even hallucinatory, with bright, brushy passages of acid green, lemon yellow or Pepto-Bismol pink in which watchful, lounging cats, clusters of dithering birds or watery human figures huddle or writhe. LP edition limited to 200 copies, issued in collaboration with the Swiss Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau (the repository of the artist’s estate) and published on the occasion of Alga Marghen’s invitation to the Artist’s Record Pavillion at Art Basel 2008.”