PREFACE TO CATALOGUE FOR GUIDO SOTRIFFER RETROSPECTIVE 1936 - 1998
Uli Beleffi Sotriffer, Schaffhausen 1999

Guido Sotriffer was torn from his familiar surroundings very unexpectedly following heart trouble. He was in a very creative phase of his artistic career, which had been moving in a new direction since the early eighties when he began turning successively to painting. The artist naturally considered himself a sculptor. Indeed, his life was devoted to creating three-dimensional, plastic forms, as evidenced by the large number of wooden sculptures, small bronzes, and large-scale plaster reliefs he produced. Even his final works, executed by others under his supervision, are figures of monumental proportions. However, colour and the possibilities opened up by painting had always fascinated him and he began, hesitantly at first and then with increasing zeal, to develop his own technique. His sudden decision to paint all his sculptures unleashed his exploration of this genre. Ultimately, it led him to develop an expressive style of painting which focused on an individual treatment of each hue in accordance with its own value, on chiaroscuro and its penetration. The subjects, usually portraits or figures, are only of secondary significance in the process.

Thanks to these fine facilities, the exhibition is able to present both the artist's sculptures and his paintings. A decision was made not to present his extensive graphical oeuvre, which stands on its own and merits a separate exhibition. This exhibition "in memoriam" is staged as a retrospective overview tracing the evolution of his work from its radically abstract beginnings through a highly traditional figurative period to a reduction in formal language in recent years to the point where virtually all that is left is a dialog between emptiness and mass, between form and content, between the object in its static qualities and the artist. Like others of his generation and background, Guido Sotriffer's point of orientation was classical Modernism. He took an active part in the North-South dialog so typical of his border-land home province of South Tyrol, cultivating relationships with photographers, artists and architects north and south of the Alps. The selection of articles in German and English included in this catalogue reflects this aspect of his life. They shed light mostly on the artist's personality, his style of working, and the unique situation of artists in Gröden. A separate publication in the Ladin language will be produced in honour of the artist at a later point in time and will focus particularly on the tradition and the significance of the environment in which he lived and worked, an aspect mentioned in most of the essays.

The Sotriffer family expresses its thanks to all the individuals and institutions who have helped to make this exhibition and this catalogue of the works of Guido Sotriffer possible: Cultural Assessor Florian Schrott of the municipality of St. Ulrich took great initiative in turning the idea of this exhibition into a reality and arranging for the facilities to stage it. This publication was made possible by the generous support of
Dr. Bruno Hosp, Cultural Assessor for South Tyrol. Thomas Brown was responsible for the design and layout of the catalogue, the overall technical supervision of printing, and the selection of the objects in the exhibition. Renata and Lino Monti, partners in architecture and in marriage, were tireless in providing sound advice on staging the exhibition. Gerhard Trumler provided the photographs for the catalogue, a collection supplemented and rounded out by photos from Sergio Sutto.