René Burri: Les Autres

Bildhalle, Zurich’s classic and contemporary photography gallery, is delighted to finally be able to open the Les Autres exhibition, already scheduled for March this year. Over 50 signed prints on display, including icons of René Burri’s work, stunning color photographs, and exclusive samples of lesser-known works.

“René Burri was always driven by an irrepressible zest for life and a thirst for discovering the universe, but especially by an acute awareness of the ebb and flow of things, a tenacious desire to understand the workings of the world, and the certainty of then being able to share his experiences and his analyses with his peers.

Two parallel approaches can be distinguished in René Burri: on the one hand, the composition, the structure, and the visual impact are of indisputable economy, precision, and legibility, conferring on his work a symbolic character, universal and almost eternal; on the other, each sign, each shape, each frame within the image confers an original and personal perspective on what is portrayed. The uniqueness of Burri`s visual universe, whether in response to a commission or for more personal work, whether in black-and-white or in color, is founded on the complementarity between these two approaches, their superposition, and their osmosis, perhaps. His photographs also hold the page or the picture rails of a gallery-like no others and have the unique power to reveal each situation to us in a single photogram.” (these are the words of Marc Donnadieu, co-curator with Mélanie Bétrisey of the exhibition at Musée de l’Elisée in Lausanne.)

About the Author

René Burri studied at the arts and crafts school in his hometown of Zurich. From 1953 to 1955 he worked as a documentary filmmaker and took his first pictures with a Leica during military service. In 1955 he became part of the Magnum photography agency and made the world aware of himself with one of his first reports on deaf and dumb children, published in Life magazine.

René Burri created icons of the history of photography in the 20th century and, as a traveling photographer, took us to all corners of the world with his haunting photo reports. His photographic work was always interested, committed, multi-layered, and empathic. He didn’t just want to document the world, he also wanted to change it with his pictures. He portrayed famous personalities such as Picasso, Le Corbusier, and Giacometti for the Swiss periodical Du, and his pictures of the revolutionary Che Guevara with a cigar went around the world.

The Dr. The 1998 Erich Salomon Prize of the German Photography Foundation went to René Burri and a major retrospective, which started in 2004-2005 at the Maison Européenne in Paris, toured several European museums. In July 2013 René Burri founded his own foundation in Switzerland. This is now housed in the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne. In September 2014 René Burri opened his last exhibition entitled Mouvement in Paris at the Maison européenne de la Photographie. For this occasion, he created triptychs in black and white and color based on the concept of image movement from a large number of unpublished photos. René Burri dies a month later, on October 20, 2014, in the hospital in Zurich.

René Burri: Les Autres
From September 3 to October 24, 2020

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