Alps Art Academy

The Blinding Light

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The Blinding Light

Alex Grünenfelder

Churchyard gate, Reformed Church Tenna – GPS: 46.747524,9.340036


In the early 1900s the town of Tenna was promoted as a klimakurort (climate therapy resort). The historical klimakurorte treated their patients through a regime of intensive exposure to natural elements—in particular the Luftkur (air cure), Heliotherapie (sunlight therapy) and the Milchkur (raw milk cure). This treatment was thought to be curative both physically and spiritually. Tenna’s former Kurhaus Alpenblick was built in 1906 and operated until the Second World War.

The Blinding Light invokes this history by means of three celestial apparitions. Mirrors installed on the mountainside multiply the sun’s power, producing three solar reflections that wander through the town over the course of the day. At noon on the summer solstice the reflected rays align on the gate of the local church to create the impression of three suns rising.

Light installation, continuous. Sunlight, stainless steel, double-sided mirrors

Alex Grünenfelder is a second-generation Canadian artist of Swiss-German and Rhaetian Romansch ancestry residing in Vancouver Canada, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. His work employs printed matter, performance, informal pedagogy and expanded modalities of tasting to develop experiential connections with space, landscape, and the air. His projects have been exhibited in Canada, USA, South Korea and Switzerland. Current projects focus on the sensory analysis of atmospheric phenomena and the history of alpine dairies and high-altitude sanatoria as cultural sites that elicit therapeutic effects by establishing sensory and physiological connections between people and landscapes.