Willy Spiller – New York 1977 – 1985

Bildhalle Amsterdam has the pleasure of presenting the first Dutch solo exhibition of Swiss photographer, Willy Spiller (*1947). Spiller‘s signature mark involves capturing images that re-tell everyday stories, using techniques of fine art and documentary photography. The series New York, 1977 – 1985 was shot in a period during which Willy Spiller lived in The Big Apple. He roamed the streets far and wide to capture a glimpse of the speed, the energy, and the absurdity of the late 70s and early 80s in New York City, USA.

Whether he focused his camera on subway rides, dancers at the legendary Studio 54, or hip-hop culture in the streets of New York, Spiller captured all the many facets of a bygone world in images as varied, as fascinating, and as absurd as that world itself had been.

In the process, Spiller combines his curiosity for his fellow human beings with a profound understanding of the beauty of the banal and mundane in the world around him. This secures his place in the annals of great Swiss photography. Like many of the well-known names that came before him, he managed to translate empathy into form through the strength of willpower. Or, as his long-time friend and companion Paul Nizon so aptly put it: “I‘ve often asked myself what made Willy Spiller‘s photography so forthright, so refreshing and so riveting. I believe it‘s a blend of unabashed curiosity and roguish complexity combined with a fraternal sense of compassion. This isn‘t something you learn at school: it‘s more a question of class, of predisposition, and ultimately of character. Behind the swashbuckling, wheeler-dealing façade there‘s a dreamer, a man hungry for life and beauty. And that is the reason he sides with humanity, which is just another way of saying that he has an innate love of mankind. That is the way he sees things. And he is driven by a highly developed artistic energy.”

The exhibition in Amsterdam will open from April 10th & April 11th until June 12, 2021.

About the Author

Willy Spiller who lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland, is not only a fine art photographer but also specializes in cultural reporting and corporate communication. He is also the only Swiss contributor to the famous GettyImages, USA.

A portrait of Willy Spiller

After receiving his master’s degree from the Zurich University of Art and Design (ZHDK) Willy Spiller pursued further education in Milan where he gained experience in a wide variety of photographic disciplines. In the following years, the majority of his work was rooted in photojournalism. Traveling on his own or with various writers Willy Spiller has visited all five continents on his many assignments. His images have appeared in numerous leading European newspapers and magazines.

He has received prizes for both his published and exhibited work, most notably for his acclaimed books “Pictures of a local reporter” and “Subway ¬ people in the underground”. His latest book, produced in collaboration with the writer Paul Nizon, covers his journey through South East Asia and has already been published in France.

Willy Spiller signature mark involves capturing images that re-tell everyday stories, using techniques of fine art and documentary photography.

Spiller photographs have been on display in major exhibits in Cairo, Milan, New York, Paris, and Zurich. His work has been acquired for world-renowned art collections such as Kunsthaus Zürich, Swiss National Museum, Fotostiftung Schweiz, Getty Collection, Musee l`Elysee, The Swiss Centre New York, as well as by private collectors.

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