Art Gallery Elart Swiss

Arnold Odermatt

November 30, 2023 - February 14, 2023

“Switzerland seen by Arnold Odermatt”
Beau-Rivage Palace Lausanne

In partnership with
Simon Studer Art and Galerie Elart Swiss

Artist's biography >

Born in 1925, Arnold Odermatt was responsible, from 1948 on, of photographing traffic accidents as well as the everyday activities of the police of Nidwald, Switzerland.

Buochs (bateau), Arnold Odermatt
Buochs (bateau), Arnold Odermatt

Armed with a Rolleiflex and a Magnesium flash, he was able to work by night and by day with an exposure time of 13 seconds. Besides photographing car accidents, Odermatt used his camera for recreating scenes from the officers’ professional life in order to attract young people and encourage them to join the police.

In the accident series, wrecked cars are abandoned upon the site of the tragedy, and what is left of the accident is turned into a romantic landscape shot. Disaster makes way to some sort of nostalgia coupled with a surrealistic impression triggered by a picturesque atmosphere, a particular framing or a complex, yet harmonious, composition. Odermatt did not limit himself to destroyed vehicles; he encompassed the landscape and the sky to create a dramatic panorama. This is what makes the artist’s eye so compelling. In the middle of the 1990’s, the art world discovered Odermatt’s work thanks to Harald Szeemann, who presented the photographs at the 49th Biennale in Venise, in 2001.

Download the Exhibition Catalogue


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