Lieu dit 1976

Michael Grossert

7′35 · CH dialect/DE · de/en · 2023

The large sculpture Lieu dit by Michael Grossert triggered heated debate in Basel in 1976. The site of the abstract artwork–the Heuwaage–underwent a major transformation in the 1960s through the construction of a viaduct which turned it into a place dominated by traffic. The artist’s aim was to create a prominent landmark and hangout in this bisected transitional space between the city center and adjacent neighborhoods. But why all the outrage? Michael Babics, Director of the Kunsthalle Palazzo in Liestal, shares some lore about the uproar. And how is the colorful giant doing today?


Michael Babics

Director und Curator
Kunsthalle Palazzo Liestal

Written and directed by

Marcel Scheible


Christa Miranda


Aurelio Buchwalder
Marcel Scheible


Christian Büttiker
Marcel Scheible


Audio Dope


Anne Hody
Andreas Grötzinger

Location Sound

Timo Schaub

Sounddesign and Mix

Thomas Rechberger


Luca BartuloviĆ

Grafic Design

Noëmi Bachmann

Color Grading

Hannes Rüttimann


Lieu dit

This monumental sculpture by Michael Grossert was erected in 1976 in the immediate vicinity of the Heuwaage Viaduct. Completed in 1970 the oversized roadway made the automobile the main protagonist in an urban space now dominated by the infrastructure of vehicular traffic. The artist countered this affront by employing a colorful large format which established a prominent landmark offsetting the viaduct’s dissection of the neighborhood. The three-part environmental sculpture is made of polyester, whose seemingly unlimited possibilities were just beginning to be explored by artists at this time. Grossert employed a broad spectrum of forms often reminiscent of the familiar, but always eluding the categorial, a trait that is strengthened by the free application of color which is independent of form. Form and color function in the realm of the abstract, which after installation of the artwork triggered strong reactions including vandalism.


Michael Grossert

Michael Grossert (b. 1927 in Sursee CH; d. 2014 in Paris FR) lived and worked in Basel and Paris and is well-represented by many works in public space in Switzerland as well as in France. Primarily a sculptor, he often painted his sculptural works with expressive multiple colors, as for Lieu dit. He particularly valued using polyester resin, a material that was just beginning to be employed at the time, because it allowed for an almost unlimited range of forms. His artwork is situated in a realm in between the abstract and the organic, approaching supposedly recognizable forms in order to skillfully elude any ultimate figurative categorization.

Artworks in the film
map icon Heuwaage / Bollwerk-Promenade / Basel

Hochbauamt / Kunstkredit
© 2023 / ProLitteris / Zürich

Model Lieu dit 1973

Kunstbetrieb Münchenstein

map icon Schulhaus Aumatten / Reinach

©2023 / ProLitteris / Zürich

Reconstruction of Antiope and Theseus

Partly colored plaster cast
Skulpturhalle Basel