Vision & mission statement

Bern is one of Switzerland's leading national and internationally acclaimed art locations. Thanks to the close cooperation between the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern offers a unique holistic art and cultural experience. The Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee are complementary starting points for encounters, stimulation, discourse and knowledge, where visitors can experience art in a new way both on site and in virtual space.

Joint mission

The Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee have been under joint management since 2016. As closely linked yet independent institutions for art and culture, both museums facilitate encounters and discussions with the visual arts and related genres. They provide an overview of international developments and positions in the visual arts up to the present day. The Zentrum Paul Klee is a cultural center whose museum work is primarily dedicated to the field of modern art. The Kunstmuseum Bern focuses on art from the late Middle Ages to the present day. Since its foundation in 1806, the Kunstmuseum Bern has built up one of the most important and diverse art collections in Switzerland. It is internationally significant thanks to its collections of ancient art, 19th century Swiss art and modern art. Since its opening in 2005, the Zentrum Paul Klee has been the most important place in the world for researching and studying the work and artistic personality of Paul Klee and presents exhibitions on outstanding artists of the 20th century. As an interdisciplinary cultural center, the Zentrum Paul Klee combines the visual arts with music, literature and agriculture and has also made a name for itself as a congress and event venue.

Both venues complement each other and encourage discourse and insight. They are embedded in the cultural, social, political and media environment of the Canton of Berne and the federal capital. In a constantly changing society that is becoming increasingly pluralistic and digital, the educational and mediation work of both institutions has a new key role to play in enabling greater cultural participation. An inclusive educational concept in the broadest sense underpins all of their offerings. Through their national and international collaborations, the programs of both institutions provide impulses for social life in Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee invite visitors of all ages to enjoy and experience art on site and in virtual space, to engage creatively with the central challenges of our time and to develop personally.

Excerpt from the Kunstmuseum Bern mission statement

The Kunstmuseum Bern sees itself as a versatile platform for a polyphonic and interdisciplinary examination of works of art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Its aim is a lively, dynamic interplay between collection, preservation, research, exhibition and communication.

The guiding principle here is the endeavour to present pressing contemporary issues to a broad public from the resources of our collections and within a clearly recognizable curatorial framework. The focus on international contemporary art is also a starting point for the constant expansion of perspectives on canonized works of art and their historical integration.

We take up social discourses and create space for the discussion of controversial positions. We approach the works entrusted to us for preservation not only from an art-historical perspective, but also emphasize both their sensuality and their sometimes subversive character. In this way, we activate the multi-layered levels of meaning of works of art and emphasize the presence of art regardless of the era in which it was created. In all forms of mediation, we seek synergetic connections between physical and virtual presence.
The starting point for this is the collections of the Kunstmuseum Bern, which focus on important work complexes from different eras. These multi-layered collections are an expression of our historical relationship with Bern and a specific collection history - they are also the core of our identity with their omissions.

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