Graffiti and Harald Nägeli

One’s preconceived idea of Switzerland is that the country is pristine, its cities as clean as Disneyland. While it IS a clean country, it is not exactly pristine. One does see trash on the ground, especially cigarette butts, and many walls are covered in graffiti, especially near the train stations.

This is a building across the street from our tram stop. At first I thought it was an abandoned building, but I have since seen that it is a daycare/preschool. I’m guessing it is nicer on the inside than the out.


Last week at German table, one of the women mentioned an artist from Zürich named Harald Nägeli, and she showed me some of his art graffiti, and I came home and looked him up. Nägeli was active in Zürich in the late 1970s, using black spray paint at night to paint wire-frame figures on public and private buildings, mostly on concrete walls as a statement about the increasing anonymity of city life. In two years he had painted over 900 works. The Swiss did not see him as an artist, but as a property-defacer, so they arrested him and fined him 260.000 CHF and 9 months in jail. He now lives in Düsseldorf, Germany.

I found this short youtube video with English subtitles. I also like this one in German, and even if you don’t speak the language, you can see more of his work.

On Sunday, while we were out walking in our neighborhood of Fluntern, I looked over at a a garage and saw this, one of his works.


I was excited that I actually knew what it was, so I decided to see if there are more of his works still around the city since many of them were removed, cleaned up. I found this Google Map page which lists places and pictures, as well as this Flickr site with locations and photos of what to see. I have not yet seen any others, but you can be sure that I am looking more carefully at the graffiti art around town now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s