Sonja Frei | Managing Director
Sonja Frei has been working as a gallery owner in the art business since 1986. She managed galleries in St. Gallen, Basel and Zurich and opened the KUNST 7 Gallery for Contemporary Art in Zurich on Löwenstrasse in 2004. Besides the professional art world of the gallery, Sonja Frei set up the art school Kunstschule KUNST 7 in Zurich in 2008. In 2010 Sonja Frei and her team moved the KUNST 7 GmbH to the spacious premises in Altendorf on the upper lake of Zurich. There, the exhibition space, the professional artist's studio and the adjacent art school were harmoniously combined into an overall concept.
› Kunstschule Kunst 7
Sonja Frei personally about KUNST 7
The gallery KUNST 7 - We live what touches us
After years of building up the gallery KUNST 7 - accompanied by constant, innovative adjustments, ups and downs and further developments also with regard to its own quality standards and its own view of art - today the gallery for contemporary art stands on a solid foundation and represents its own philosophy.
Personally and as a gallery owner, I am always on the move and go through my processes. My life is inseparable from my actions and thus from art. There is no difference between the art business and the rest of the free market economy.
Despite my unbroken enthusiasm the romantic idea of the art world is a vision. Like everywhere else, it's all about survival, but for many, unfortunately, it's only about profit, personal recognition and often short-lived fame. Thus, over time with many demanding and sometimes difficult years, I have asked myself why I do this.
A question that, by the way, is not entirely unknown to some artists. Presently I think it is probably the diversity, the humanity, the interpersonal, the authenticity and thus the relationship that is lived in one way or another - usually very intensively - especially in the art world.
KUNST 7 is lively, multi-faceted and multi-layered, because there is room for everything.
Be it the peculiarities, demands, needs of the gallery team or the ideas, demands and quirks of the artists or the gallery owner herself: Everything can and may be lived and experienced. All kinds of characters meet each other and all ideologies, ideas, convictions and individual world views are allowed to 'be'. Although this may hold a certain potential for conflict - art needs this freedom. As vital as this freedom is for art itself, it is also important for a place where art is lived.
Today I see my primary task as a gallery owner to recognize the artist in his or her present state of life and his or her highest human and artistic potential.
I would like to perceive the individuality, the human being in the artist, what motivates him, what defines him and thus this uniqueness, as we all have it in ourselves. Only when I grasp all this and thus recognize the artist himself in his actions, his artistic creation, his art, I have the the possibility to discover the heart of his oeuvre - which is more than mere representation - and to passionately pass it on to art lovers.
On my long journey as a gallery owner I have been able to meet 'true and real' artists. In their uncompromising authenticity they become creators. They create their work out of themselves, not subjecting themselves to trends. They are not showing what is expected of them but are revealing themselves. They live their own time, their own pace, their calling and bring their inner message into visibility through their work. They 'live and die' for their work - again and again. They are not really interested if their work is liked or not- it is up to the subject - so their art appears sincere and genuine. Everything is hidden in them, arises in them and manifests itself in the often complex, handcrafted implementation.
Wassily Kandinsky spoke of the 'necessity in art'.
This saying matches unequivocally my feeling when I meet a true artist. He simply has to do it, whether it pleases the viewer, the curators, the gallery owners or the influential art critics. It doesn't matter whether the work finds its buyer or not. By scooping the work from within, often in a deep connection or confrontation with nature, faith, socio-political, social issues or other collective or even personal development, during the creative act of his object, he ignites a spark of life - the heart in the work begins to beat. This power continues pulsating in the particular work and is able to touch the sensitive observer in one way or another. This essence is not bound to any time, trend or place. Thus, art itself, in its diversity, beauty, criticism and content, has an effect far beyond our lifetime.
For me personally, this is the difference between creative designers and true artists.
Far be it from me to treat such important creative minds with disrespect, because they make our everyday life and our lives so much more beautiful. It is however, a personal concern of mine to honour the true artists, I have met along the way, because I believe they are indescribable and invaluable to all mankind.