In Valais, art has come out of the museums to make its mark on public spaces. Street art, graffiti, sculptures and mosaics decorate walls, roundabouts and even chairlift stations more than 2,000 metres above sea level. For many artists, these public spaces have become one vast open-air playground, where they can give free rein to their creativity, mixing a wide variety of styles as they decorate dull walls and add a touch of colour to structures with limited aesthetic appeal. Visitors can look forward to a thrilling cultural experience that takes in urban exploration, industrial architecture, street art and spectacular alpine landscapes.
Art on roundabouts – Martigny
Sculptures and other monumental works decorate 17 roundabouts on main roads in the town of Martigny: ideal to explore either on foot or by car. This initiative by the Valais patron of the arts Léonard Gianadda aims to showcase contemporary art and make it accessible to the widest audience possible.
Urban graffiti in Sion
Armed with their spray paint, talented graffiti artists from Sion add a creative touch to underpasses and walls with limited aesthetic appeal in the Valais capital. From the boarding around the Médiathèque media centre to the walls of the Blancherie swimming pool, and from the facades of the music venue Le Port Franc to the Matze underpass and the staircase of the underground La Cible car park, the graffiti adds colour to the town of Sion.
High-altitude graffiti – Crans-Montana
Crans-Montana is effectively a high-altitude open-air museum, with wall paintings scattered between the resort and the ski pistes. In summer, the Vision Art Festival takes urban art to new heights. 34 works by Swiss and international artists can be seen on the facades of buildings dating to the 1970s and on the walls of cable car and chairlift stations.
Twingi Land Art – Binn
The historical road through the Twingischlucht gorges in the Binntal nature park makes a dramatic setting for Twingi Art Land. This open-air art exhibition presents the work of Valais, Swiss and international artists who specialise in land art, a movement that makes use of materials provided by nature to create imaginative outdoor works and art installations.
Photography trail – Verbier
During summer, the alpine pastures above Verbier turn into a scenic open-air museum. Created by the Musée de Bagnes, the photography trail, which runs from Les Ruinettes to Croix de Cœur, displays printed images fixed to wooden structures, each of which contains a table and two benches: perfect for leisurely contemplation.
Chemin des 700 ans – Bagnes
Created to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, the Chemin des 700 (700 years trail) offers a round photographical walk in the Val de Bagnes. Along the way, stop to admire the 30 photographs on display – and also enjoy the opportunity to explore the valley’s pretty villages.
Art on and around the Mauvoisin Dam – Bagnes
The Mauvoisin dam is the tallest arch dam in Europe, and every summer the top of the concrete colossus provides an exhilarating setting for an exhibition of 30 large-format photographs. Way below, the sweeping steel curves of a work of art by Michael Heizer form a thrilling contrast to the wild and majestic alpine scenery of the Val de Bagnes. This is the first of a series of permanent land art projects that will eventually form the focus of an innovative open-air art itinerary through Valais.
Sculpture path – Nendaz.
Experience the fairy-tale charm of the forests of Nendaz as you discover local wildlife in the form of wooden sculptures, carved on trees along the “Promenade des Crêtes”. A chamois, squirrel, brown bear, stag and fox are among animals that will delight nature lovers of all ages: an enchanting way to get to know local fauna.
Space invaders – Anzère
Where video games meet graffiti and street art: small coloured mosaics have appeared at a variety of locations in the resort of Anzère. Download the Flash Invaders app on your mobile phone and scan the mosaics to collect as many points as you can. Join the hunt, keep your eyes peeled and have fun!