Gornergrat, Zermatt, 2016, from the project «Unfamiliar Familiarities». © Simon Roberts

Unfamiliar Familiarities. Outside Views on Switzerland

11 February to 7 May 2017

Switzerland’s image has been significantly shaped by photographs dedicated to tourism. With spectacular mountain panoramas, rural idylls or portraits of local people the country could be successfully marketed, and these photographs also made an important contribution towards national identity. Another consequence, however, was that the respective pictorial repertoire became inflated and stereotyped. Switzerland Tourism has chosen an unusual project to mark its 100th anniversary in 2017 with the aim of exploiting the potential of photography anew. The Swiss Foundation for Photography (Winterthur) and the Musée de l'Elysée (Lausanne) invited five internationally renowned photographers to scrutinise Switzerland in their capacity as independent, subjective and sensitive observers – unrestricted by any advertising commission. What Alinka Echeverría (Mexiko/UK), Shane Lavalette (USA), Eva Leitolf (Germany), Simon Roberts (UK) and Zhang Xiao (China) discovered on their travels around the country or along its borders is both inspiring and revealing. Their exciting, poetic or mysterious-enigmatic images invite viewers to see the familiar with the eyes of an outsider.

An initiative of the Swiss Foundation for Photography, co-produced by the Musée de l'Elysée and with the support of Switzerland Tourism. Exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne: 25 October 2017 to 7 January 2018. A catalogue will be published by Lars Müller Publishers to accompany the exhibition.


Somalia, Mogadishu, 2012. © Dominic Nahr

Dominic Nahr – Blind Spots

20 May to 8 October 2017

The photographs taken by Dominic Nahr (born 1983) are valued greatly by the news desks of the world press. Their full force unfolds in exhibitions. The hard facts of the international trouble spots are just the outer scaffolding from which to immerse oneself in the lifeworld of the people. Nahr communicates states of mind and moods that cannot be captured in either words or statistics. The exhibition «Blind Spots» is devoted to four African states constantly threatened with disintegration, countries that cannot do justice to their populations’ need for security and basic supplies: Southern Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of these countries’ problems were caused by outside influences which have their roots in the history of colonialism. But even today, as unstable constructs, they are still imperilled by the interests and pursuit of profit of foreign powers, be it because of their raw materials or their political heritage. The victims of these rivalries are always those people who try to adjust in the shadow of the powerful – scarcely or not perceived at all by the global public. It is these Blind Spots that the exhibition highlights.

Electric furnace, Honegger Rüti, 1942. © Jakob Tuggener Foundation, Uster

Jakob Tuggener –
Machine Age. Photographs and Films

21 October 2017 to
28 January 2018

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) is one of those exceptions in Swiss photography. His personal and highly expressive photographs of the boisterous parties in better social circles are legendary, and his book Fabrik of 1943 is regarded as a milestone in the history of the photobook. The exhibition «The Machine Age» focuses on his photographs and films from the world of work and industry. These not only reflect technical developments from the textile industry in Zurich’s Oberland to power plant construction in the Alps, but also testify to Tuggener’s life-long fascination with old types of machines: from looms to smelters and turbines to locomotives, steamships and racing cars. He loved their noise, their dynamic movement and their boundless power, and he presented them from an artistic viewpoint. At the same time he observed the men and women whose work kept the engine of progress running – and he did this not without hinting that at some point in time the machines could control people.

In collaboration with the Jakob Tuggener Foundation. Steidl Verlag will publish a selection of Tuggener’s as yet unpublished book maquettes to accompany the exhibition.