Arnold Odermatt

14 Mar — 6 May 2017 at the Galerie Springer in Berlin, Germany

13 APRIL 2017
Arnold Odermatt: Stans, 1969, silvergelatin print, 45x45cm; Courtesy: Galerie Springer Berlin, © Urs Odermatt,Windisch
Arnold Odermatt: Stans, 1969, silvergelatin print, 45x45cm; Courtesy: Galerie Springer Berlin, © Urs Odermatt,Windisch

In the forthcoming exhibitions, Galerie Springer Berlin presents selected works by Arnold Odermatt from “Feierabend” (After Work), which has been published by Steidl Verlag in October 2016. The book includes photographic series of objects and people from within the photographer’s environment, such as funiculars, cattle trade, village events and portraits. Odermatt also documented the then ground-breaking construction of the Swiss Lopper motorway.

This is the first outing of these masterful images, running in parallel to the large exhibition of Odermatt’s works in Zurich, curated by Daniel Blochwitz. On the occasion of the Zurich exhibition, Hartmann Books released an extensively biographical publication which fills the gap in German-language literature on Arnold Odermatt: “A good image must be sharp!” A book launch with the team from Hartmann books is planned for the gallery weekend (date to follow).

The artist was born in 1925 in Oberdorf in the Swiss canton Nidwalden. He attended primary and secondary school in Stans and trained as a baker and confectioner. In 1948, Odermatt joined the police service and retired in 1990, having held the posts of lieutenant, chief of traffic police and vice commander of the Nidwalden Police. From the very beginning of his time in service, he asked to be able to take photos of the numerous collisions which he witnessed in his line of work. But it is not merely these accidents which are the focus of the passionate photographs which made his name. He also utilised his family, colleagues, fellow villagers and the mountain landscape as motifs for his work. At the beginning of the 1990s, his son, the director Urs Odermatt, discovered decades of archived traffic accidents while researching for his film “Wachtmeister Zumbühl”.

Impressed by the quality of the works, he was promoted to publisher of all of Arnold Odermatt’s hitherto published books. The books “Karambolage”, “On Duty”, and “Off Duty”were published by Steidl Press, following by “Feierabend” (After Work) in Autumn 2016. In 2001, Harald Szeemann presented a selection of 32 works by Odermatt at the Venice Biennale. Thereafter followed numerous international solo and group exhibitions, including the solo exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago (2001), Centro Cultural Okendo in San Sebastian (2005) and La Chambre, Strasbourg (2012). Photobastei Zurich will be presenting the exhibition of works until 12 March 2017. The works of Arnold Odermatt can be found in many international collections and museums. The artist lives and works in Stans.