Che Guevara smoking a cigar, Pablo Picasso in the bullring, Alberto Giacometti in his studio or Le Corbusier while designing – Réne Burri helped shape the history of photography in the 20th century with his photographs and reportages. In addition, Burri belongs to the protagonists of colour photography with artistic aspirations. After working as a photographer for five decades René Burri left a rich body of work in colour which this exhibition examined and acclaimed as an independent contribution to »New Color Photography«.
With the exhibition »Doppelleben (A Double Life)« OstLicht presented a largely unknown area of this great Swiss photographer's creative oeuvre. In contrast to his black-and-white photographs, Burri did not attempt to make pointed statements with his colour photography. Instead they reflect interplay of shapes and colours, often opening up confusing, enigmatic views and vistas. He dared to create bold details and perspectives, playing with reflections, sharpness and blur. Nevertheless, he set colour in these works, which have developed over the last decades through his travels around the world, not only from a purely formal interest. Always, though usually very subtle, a social, political, historical message resonates, which often only becomes apparent at a second glance.
Alongside these colour photographs, which have been showed for the first time in Austria, famous black and white icons could be found in the exhibition. Supplemented with additional photographs and photo essays, it is impressive to see how he approached themes, subjects and the people he portrayed. As a tribute to his 80th birthday, it retraced two main lines of a remarkable photographer life – or as René Burri put it himself: »As a photographer I have led a double life – one in black and white and one in colour«.
An exhibition of the Museum of Design, Zurich
The photographs are available for sale.
IMPRESSIONS FROM THE OPENING