image

Works in progress at Urs Fischer’s studio.
Credit Courtesy of the artist

In opening his first permanent gallery next month — in St. Moritz — Vito Schnabel is leading with his friends — namely the Swiss artist Urs Fischer, who has not had a solo show in Switzerland since 2008.

“It’s nice to bring him home in some way,” Mr. Schnabel, the New York independent curator and contemporary art dealer, said over breakfast the other day.

Mr. Fischer’s show, which is to open Dec. 29, pays tribute to the space itself, which formerly belonged to the Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger. In addition to new paintings and sculptures, the exhibition will feature a site-specific work made of wax pigments, wicks and steel depicting a life-size Mr. Bischofberger seated with his wife, Yoyo.

As the wicks burn down over the course of the show, the wax figures will slowly dissolve and melt into an ornate oak chair.

Mr. Bischofberger is also a mentor of Mr. Schnabel’s; the two have presented three exhibitions together, and Mr. Bischofberger suggested he take over the gallery. “It was not something I was planning on,” Mr. Schnabel said.

The Vito Schnabel Gallery plans to present four to five shows a year, as well as public art projects, the first of which will be Sterling Ruby’s piece made up of four functioning wood-burning stoves in a walled-in garden at the Kulm Hotel across from the gallery.

“I want to bring these to the mountains of Switzerland and install them in the snow,” Mr. Schnabel said.

The stoves — each 14 to 17 feet tall — continue the Ruby series currently on view at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris and reflect the gallery’s intention to extend its programming throughout St. Moritz.

“It’s a beautiful landscape in the middle of the Engadine,” Mr. Schnabel said. “Outdoor space has always been something that interests me.”