This book presents the many facets of photographer Balthasar Burkhard (1944-2010), showing his self-invention as an artist and tracing the trajectory of the medium of photography in the later half of the twentieth century. Burkhard’s work combines a sensitive understanding of the body as sculpture and the photographic image as a canvas, making him one of the pioneers in translating photography as a monumental “tableau” into contemporary art.
This comprehensive book coalesces Burkhard’s early role as a chronicler of the contemporary art of his time, especially as the main photographer for Swiss curator Harald Szeemann, his conceptual redefinition of photography together with other artists, and finally his emancipation as a photo artist. It accompanies a major retrospective organized by Museum Folkwang in Essen, Fotomuseum Winterthur and Fotostiftung Schweiz, the Museo d’arte della Svizzerra italiana in Lugano and the Balthasar Burkhard Estate in Bern.
‘Nude photos. I never succeeded with nude photos. I have discarded the experiments. But the discarded photos are as important as the successful ones. I have discarded them because the absence of the other was not clear enough.’ -Balthasar Burkhard