800 Years Klosters

The Municipality of Klosters has acquired my works «Walser Woman» and «April», they are now exposed in the foyer of the new school building opposite Klosters Platz train station.

Marcel Bernet holzbildhauer figürlich holzskulptur sculptor figurative wood artI am very pleased that the two figures will remain in Klosters, accessible to the public when the school (Website) is open. You can always take a glimpse through the large window just opposite the «Kulturschuppen».

In 2022, the old school building became the «Kunsthaus Klosters» as part of the anniversary «800 years of Klosters – Walser pride and world history». 53 artists and 9 artists in residence occupied 13 rooms and created various actions. The jury had selected my anniversary proposal, «April» and the »Walser Woman» were created on-site in the summer of 2022. My German Residency Notes tell stories from this art retreat.

klosters 800 kunsthaus Marcel Bernet holzbildhauer figürlich holzskulptur The result is «Zugewandert», a story of change in two portraits:

Around 1300, the first Walser families set out from Davos to the Schlappin, a then-not-urbanized side valley of Klosters.

«Colonists» is what the first documents called these immigrants, whose hard work brought enough benefit to the feudal lords to grant them a settlement.


klosters kunsthaus Marcel Bernet holzbildhauer figürlich holzskulpturWho migrates to Klosters today, in the year of the anniversary?

April and Lawrence Llibre have left South Carolina to spend their retirement here.

The settlement permit replaces the feudal charter, taxes the peasant rent, and government offices the former feudal lords.


Encounter without judgement
Walser Woman and April Skulpturen Marcel Bernet Holz The sight of the two 180 cm tall figures reveals similarities and differences: «April» and the «Walser Woman» are packed – for a hike, including a book, for collecting firewood.

Would Walsers retire? Did their time have an integrated heart rate monitor? Do we still know where herbs grow and how they work? Was everything better in the past? These are thoughts that came up to me during the research. But the two women embody change without judging it.

And because history is written in the here and now, two texts shed light on the personal background of the departure:

Walser Woman
Migrated 1300 from Davos to Schlappin

Walser Frau Holzskulptur«There’s enough dry wood lying around. There’s only forest up here. I hoped for more grass, but now it’s up to us to clear it.
Of course, the first years on land that has never been used are hard; I’m used to that. We came to the Landwasser Valley from Northern Italy with my parents; here we are building scattered settlements. Down at the Romanes, they don’t understand our Walser German, but we communicate that way when necessary.
My greatest hope is that the animals will thrive with God’s blessing, and we will be given a few more children to work with.»

Immigrated 2022 from South Carolina, USA, to Selfranga

Porträt einer Frau in Klosters«We spent five summers here on holiday, then thought about it for three years. And decided: we’ll spend the rest of our lives in Klosters.
Of course, the transition is difficult. Everything is new, and we don’t know many people yet. We left our wooden house in Mountain Rest and found a lovely flat in Selfranga.
I’m just learning a language that no one here speaks: German. Will I ever understand the dialect?
Our biggest hope is that we can take our lives more calmly – and stay healthy when we retire.»

Blick auf Klosters DorfIf you like to read (or auto-translate, of course) German, check out Stories from the Residence.

Thanks to April and Lawrence Llibre for their contribution, the historians Christoph Luzi, Florian Hitz, and Peter Guler for information on the first Walser immigration to Klosters, the municipality of Klosters for the larch trunks and the team of Kunsthaus Klosters for their tremendous and ongoing support.

18.07.2022 - 30.11.2022

Fri 5-8 pm , Sat and Sun 2-5 pm.

Kunsthaus Klosters

Contrast of shapes in the foyer of the new school building.