Daniel Schibli

4 May – 25 June


Photos and video projections 

Show opening Wednesday 3rd May starting at 6 p.m.
Tuesday - Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Daniel Schibli is a multifaceted artist who seems to have a hand in every medium. His work often blends photography, video, sculpture, performance, even painting.

Daniel Schibli, 2005

Schibli's initial videos feature a series of performances recorded in his studio with the artist alone before the camera as he subjects his body to various more or less painful processes and tests his resistance. He struggles, for example, to free himself from a length of transparent film that has been stretched across a wall (Ohne Titel [Wandplastik], 1992, 6'30). This openly expressed pain forces the viewer to wonder about the human condition, a theme that runs throughout Schibli's work, although it always displays a touch of humor and irony to introduce a certain distance between us and what he articulates in his art.

His approach to photography confronts us with another essential question, i.e., our relationship with nature and the landscape.
In this domain, Schibli's world is entirely made by hand thanks to a series of altogether rudimentary basic materials like cardboard, paper, and wood, but also earth, sand, and water. He approaches the possibilities offered these days by information technologies from a different uncommon direction and produces artificial landscapes that refer to unconscious inner worlds rather than reality. In these worlds Schibli has also made short video films in which his work is truly that of a puppeteer. The settings he creates become the theater of short amusing sketches between characters made of paper or cotton brought to life by the artist's own gestures and voice.

For his first exhibition in French-speaking Switzerland, Daniel Schibli will present at the Center for the Contemporary Image a collection of some ten photos, including four new ones produced between 1999 and 2006, along with an oil painting.

Daniel Schibli, Ohne Titel, 2002

The photographs, which make up the bulk of this show, represent environments that were painstakingly created in the artist's studio in a range of scales. These environments people the artist's life for a number of long months and are often the subject of several photos as well as short video films.

The artist's work with lighting, his experiments with framing, and a suggestion of movement will fool viewers an instant and transport them to another place. In fact, we are never shown the whole of the construction and the images obtained by the artist point us toward an original, ordered nature that displays a paradisal aspect. The references blend and merge just as the fore-, middle- and backgrounds of the image do to create abstract environments with Japanese, desert, even dreamlike overtones. The eye thus perceives an impression of reality, then gradually begins to identify the materials employed: a piece of cotton suggests a cloud, while the mountains prove to be made of potting soil and the trees of paper. The illusion of a perfect nature falls away and viewers find themselves facing the ambiguous relationship they have with the landscape in the present day and age: a quest for Eden versus the complete and utter taming of nature.

We are thus given a glimpse behind the scenes, which points up the long construction process that came before.

Daniel Schibli, Ohne Titel, 2002


Daniel Schibli was born in 1963 in Killwangen. He lives and works in Zürich and in Wettingen.

Solo Exhibitions

2004 Kunsthalle Winterthur
2002 Kunstraum Aarau
1999 Sonderpräsentation im Rahmen der Jahresausstellung, Aargauer Kunsthaus 2002, Galerie Elisabeth Kaufmann
1998 Kleines Helmhaus, Zürich


Group Exhibitions (selection)

2006 Reale Fantasien, Fotomuseum Winterthur
2006 Sehnsüchtig gleiten Ballone rund um die Welt, Berlin
2005 Jubiläumsausstellung SBK, Kunsthalle, Zürich
2005 Auswahl 05, Kunsthaus, Aarau
2004 Schatten, Galerie Trudelhaus, Baden
2004 Schwarz auf Weiss, Kunstmuseum, Soleur
2004 Fürchte dich, Helmhaus, Zürich
2004 Daniel Schibli Markus Weiss, Kunstraum, Kreuzlingen
2003 Eidg. Preis für freie Kunst, Messehallen, Bâle
2003 Der Mondopunkt, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
2002 Eidg. Preis für freie Kunst, Messehallen, Bâle
2000 EX 25, Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich
1998 Körper: Tanz Performance, Kunstmuseum, Lucerne
1998 Freie Sicht aufs Mittelmeer, Kunsthaus, Zürich
1995 Kunst aus Zürich, Kunsthaus, Zürich
1993 – 1997 Jahresausstellung, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau


Videos presentation (selection)

2005 Image Forum Festival, Tokyo
2005 UNDER 5 S, 39, London
2004 Swiss mix, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius ( Lituanie )
2003 Swiss mix, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
1998 Festival International du Film de Locarno ( Vidéofestival ), Sélection Suisse
1996 Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris