With her art and exhibition space message salon, founded in 1996, Esther Eppstein (1967, Zurich) has helped to shape the perception of an entire neighbourhood – Zurich’s fourth district – removing the taboos surrounding it and making it the focus of public attention. Zurich is home, material for her work, and display. For Eppstein, urban development is and always has been closely bound up with subculture and established cultural life. As she moved from place to place, she invariably succeeded in combining art with a living community, with the aim of creating a network and a new scene, a kind of diverse art family as social sculpture, around the physical space that is message salon.
Since the closure of the Perla-Mode exhibition space in 2015, she has been running the massage salon embassy art project – an artist-run residence that invites international artists to spend time in Zurich and practise their art there. She also published zines and souvenirs through message salon embassy.
Esther Eppstein has received numerous awards for her work as a curator and artist, notably from the City and Canton of Zurich and the Federal Office of Culture (2003 and 2006).