“Mare nostrum” – in and beyond late antiquity, this term with its manifold political origins described the totality of all people included within, and at the same time the claim to power asserted by the Imperium Romanum, which has left its mark on European life right down to our day. In the autumn of last year, the Italian naval operation of the same name – which had been called into life in 2013 in the wake of the Lampedusa tragedy to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean – was terminated. It comes as no surprise that the Swiss artist Miriam Cahn has chosen this title both for her group of works and for her overall exhibition, in which new, large-format works and smaller drawings created from the 1980s on are put on display. Topics such as war, violence and people fleeing from conflict have found expression in her work from the very beginning and reveal both her precise observation of the world around her and her ongoing concern for her own history.
The exhibition, however, is not to be seen solely as an autobiographic retrospect: the forthright inclusion of current-day societal circumstances reveals Miriam Cahn’s work to be also a testimony to political developments, which are broached directly in her paintings from a personal perspective and are submitted for discussion and debate in the exhibition environment.