Tropical Dreams

Tropical Dreams

Tristebacio Club

Curated by Ilaria Monti

Display, Parma

18.02.2023 – 24.03.2023


DISPLAY presents Tropical Dreams, site-specific installation by Tristebacio Club.


From the native Swiss Alps and the green landscapes of Canton Ticino, in just a few miles the art collective Tristebacio Club has landed into the tropical paradises between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, through a daily exploration of minimarkets and orchards run by Zurich’s immigrant communities. These little stores and the products they sell have led the artists to imagine different landscapes, languages, tastes, and smells; actually, the installation is conceived as a real fountain supplying coconut-flavored water – a tribute to a beverage imported from Philippine – which also suggests hybrid scenarios by referring to architectural models and patterns from the Middle Eastern and Asian countries. In fact, the fountain is covered by colorful tiles with Arabic scripts and graphics directly taken from the Philippine beverage can. The aesthetics, the hyper-decorative packaging design and the random products shelving in multi-ethnic groceries, creates in the Swiss artists a sense of wonder and marvel, the same genuine feeling children can experiment at Luna Park, back on their favorite dizzy ride only after they’ve tried everything. The idea of a huge coconut water fountain is indeed rooted in the obsession and exaggeration which often permeates the way children approach things and get to know the world.


The Tristebacio’s fountain depicts an unmet and unbridled desire for a simple juice. By entering these tiny low-priced products shops, the artists immediately feel a fascination for places and atmospheres very far from the Swiss environment and society, with its clichés still anchored in the popular mind and in the perception of the country abroad – from punctuality to rigor, from the fiscal system to alpine pastures. The stereotypes affecting their homeland are the backdrop to an entirely different and new paradise: the artists play with geographical cross-contaminations and overlaps, highlighting the power of commercial consumer goods and the way they can reshape and blur the boundaries of their own world. Thus, in the heart of the city of Zurich, the artists found a tropical drink which can be seen as the magic items found in fairytales: a sip to feel elsewhere, anywhere. The fountain then functions as an attractive hub for multicultural aggregation, turning the exhibition space into the square of a fictional country. While water is usually a symbol and an archetype of purification and spirituality, in Western, Middle and Far Eastern cultures the fountain is a key element of urban decoration and of the so-called “Paradise Gardens”, places imbued with allegorical values and testing ground for sculptors over the years. The artists, therefore, challenge a cornerstone of architectural and devotional practices with and ironic and surrealistic attitude, trying to satisfy their whim and thirst through an exotic and monumental work, a spectacular device to always get infinite amount of the drink they love most.

Tristebacio Club is an art collective founded in 2018 on the banks of Ceresio, in Italian-speaking Switzerland. Its artistic practice, always imbued with a subtle irony, is mainly expressed through installation works, conceived as means to explore everyday issues related to young generations in the digital era and to their own cultural roots.

Among the most recent exhibitions: Sky is the Limit, Maglio del Malcantone, 2022; Toi Toi, (offsite), Paradiso, 2022; Ketchup Napalm, Pizzagate, Locarno, 2021.

 Photo: Display