Beni and Andi, 1982 © Barbara Davatz
Beni, Charlotte, Lou-Salomé and Natalie, 2014
© Barbara Davatz

Barbara Davatz – As Time Goes By, 1972 to 2014

27 February to 16 May 2016

In 1982 Barbara Davatz (*1944) portrayed 12 young couples from the Zurich scene who were either lovers, friends or related. She photographed them against a neutral backdrop, focussing on the expressive force of the sitters’ faces, gaze, body language and the subtle interplay of clothing and accessories. This laid the foundation stone for a long-term study lasting more than three decades: in 1988, 1997 and 2014 she continued the series of portraits with the same people, some of whom were in new relationships. She thus produced not only a unique study on ageing, but also granted insight into changes in society and in styles. Ultimately “As Time Goes By” is a work about visible and invisible powers of attraction between people – a classic of Swiss photography, published anew by Edition Patrick Frey in a more comprehensive form and scheduled to be shown at the Fotostiftung Schweiz for the first time in full. The exhibition will be complemented by other conceptual portrait series which began with the striking images of the staff of a factory dated 1972. It is evident in all these works just how consistently and independently Barbara Davatz realises her projects.

Barbara Davatz. As Time Goes By. 1982, 1988, 1997, 2014.
Edition Patrick Frey, 2015.


Female Workers in Front of the Chocolate Factory Cima-Norma, Dangio-Torre
© Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta, Corzoneso

Roberto Donetta – Photographer and Seed Salesman from Bleniotal

28 May to 4 September 2016

Roberto Donetta (1865-1932) from Ticino is one of Swiss photography’s great outsiders. He managed to make a living as a travelling photographer and seed salesman, and upon his death left almost 5,000 glass plates which were preserved merely by chance. These capture the archaic life of his compatriots in the Valle di Blenio, which at the time was totally isolated, and the gradual advent of modernism in a precise and sensitive way. Over a period of 30 years and in an era of great change, Donetta became a unique chronicler who at the same time saw himself as an artist who – self-taught – experimented freely and knew how to master his medium. His pictures are penetrating and humorous, cheerful and deadly serious – be they of children, families, wedding couples, professional people, the harsh everyday-life of women and men, or of the photographer himself. Valle di Blenio as a microcosm: with Donetta the mountain valley becomes the stage for a great Theater of the World. The exhibition will have about 120 works from the Donetta Archive, many of them on show to the public for the first time ever.

In collaboration with the Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano and Fondazione Archivio Roberto Donetta, Corzoneso.
A monograph will be published by Limmat Verlag, Zurich, to accompany the exhibition.

Highlight of the Pilgrimage to Saut d'Eau, Ville de Bonheur, 2008 © Thomas Kern

Thomas Kern – Haiti.
The Perpetual Liberation

17 September 2016
to 29 January 2017

Thomas Kern (*1965), co-founder of the Swiss photo agency Lookat Photos, made a name for himself in the 1990s with reportages focussing on the impact of war and conflict. In 1997 he travelled to Haiti for the first time on a commission for the cultural journal du. Since then he has repeatedly returned there so as to capture the turbulent history of the former “pearl of the Antilles”. In classical black and white, Kern documents the daily struggle for survival in one of the world’s poorest countries – discrete and yet as close to the people as possible. His images reveal the great individual efforts and the small joys of an everyday life marked by natural catastrophes, political instability and a gradual ecological disaster. They also speak about the history of slavery and the refuge provided by the spiritual world of voodoo. The exhibition will show images from more than fifteen years and bring to a brilliant end Kern’s most extensive long-term project to date and one that emerged in the field of tension between prolonged misery and an unbounded will to live.

With the supports of the Friends of the Fotostiftung Schweiz.
A book will be published by Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess, Zurich, parallel to the exhibition.