The Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana in Lugano is dedicating a monographic exhibition to the Swiss photographer and artist Balthasar Burkhard (Berne, 1944-2010).
The exhibition – in copartnership with the Museum Folkwang in Essen, the Fotostiftung and the Fotomuseum in Winterthur – shows the full chronology of Burkhard’s career, from his early works at the end of the 1960s: mainly photographs of a documentary nature to the vast natural and urban landscapes of the beginning of the new century. Between these two extremes sit Burkhard’s images documenting the international art scene (next to the curator Harald Szeemann), the snapshots taken with his colleague Markus Raetz, printed on large emulsified canvas, and the photographs of bodies printed in such large format that they become architectural elements or landscapes. Burkhard’s research is guided by the wish to re-establish the creative role of photography in an age in which traditional artistic techniques are challenged by the increasing use of installations and performances that he himself documented: these works aspire to cut loose from easy-to-handle formats and traditional collocations. We are not standing before simple images – here is a totally new way of conceiving the art of photography, and the large, versatile spaces of the Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana are the ideal context for it.