Balthasar Burkhard, The Bed (Photo Canvas With Markus Raetz), 1969/1970.
© Estate Balthasar Burkhard

Balthasar Burkhard

10 February to 21 May 2018

Together, Fotomuseum and Fotostiftung will showcase the oeuvre of Swiss artist Balthasar Burkhard (1944–2010) in a major retrospective. Burkhard’s work spans half a century: from his early days as a trainee photographer with Kurt Blum to his seminal role in chronicling the art of his time, and his eventual breakthrough as an internationally acclaimed photographic artist in his own right. Burkhard was one of the first to bring photography into the realms of contemporary art in the form of the monumental “tableau”. He interpreted the body as sculpture and used the canvas to liberate photography from its function as a purely reproductive medium. More than 150 works and groups of works chart not only the progress of his own photographic career, but also the emergence of photography as an art form in the second half of the twentieth century. The exhibition is divided into two parts, shown in parallel at Fotomuseum and Fotostiftung. 

An accompanying catalogue is published by Steidl. Realised in collaboration with the Museum Folkwang, Essen, and the Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano. 

Accompanying Programme

7 March 2018, 6.30 p.m.: Designer Trix Wetter and architect Ralph Gentner on Burkhard as a chronicler of Bern’s art scene 

15 April 2018, 11.30 a.m.: Filmmaker Bernhard Giger on Burkhard and Bern’s photography Scene

6 May 2018, 11.30 a.m.: Publisher Lars Müller on his book projects with Burkhard

Kindly supported by Vontobel Foundation. Further support by Swiss Mobiliar Cooperative Company, Avina Stiftung, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Jean Genoud, Walter Haefner Stiftung, Dr. Werner Greminger-Stiftung, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Burgergemeinde Bern, Swisslos/Kultur Kanton Bern and ArsRhenia Stiftung.