Iseut (Isolde) Bersier
Trois Éléments, 1979
Weatherproof acrylic dispersion on concrete, each 106.2 × 106.2 × 9.7 cm
Swiss Post Branch,
Adorning the entrance hall of the post office in Murten is a wall piece consisting of three concrete squares with undulating lines of colour that stand out in relief from the grey background. Each of the three elements is divided by a milled joint into four small squares, creating the impression of twelve individual images. The work is also visible from the outside through the glazed entrance area. The flow of tourists from the station to the city centre and the nearby Hotel Bahnhof, which previously belonged to the PTT, were reasons that contributed to the selection of this location for an artwork in the 1970s.
Iseut Bersier (1935, Olten–2022, Muntelier) was a painter, drafter, sculptor, and musician. She was part of the Mouvement group, which significantly influenced the Freiburg cultural scene starting in the late-1950s. Unlike other artists’ groups at the time, it was not an all-male community. With its abstract forms, Trois Éléments (Three Elements) is an exception in Iseut Bersier’s oeuvre. The artist mainly painted figurative portraits featuring confident women and Mediterranean landscapes. Abstract forms occasionally appear within her landscapes – this may have been an aspect the artist decided to explore further in Trois Éléments. What all of her works have in common is their colourfulness and a sense of buoyancy.
The PTT Building Construction Department commissioned this work directly from the artist. Using concrete as a material in art was quite innovative at that time. However, various structural measures undertaken at the post office since 1979 upset the harmonious relationship between the architecture and the artwork. The room was accessible to the public day and night because it housed mailboxes and served as a vestibule, so that Trois Éléments had to undergo restoration in 2022. As each element weighs around 300 kilograms and is anchored firmly in the wall, the artwork was restored on-site by a female restoration expert. Unfortunately, the artist passed away during this time and was unable to experience Trois Éléments in its renewed radiance.