Thomas Flechtner

1961 · Switzerland

Artist biography

Born in 1961 in Winterthur, Switzerland, Thomas Flechtner studied at the École Supérieur d’Arts Appliqués in Vevey, Switzerland, from 1983 to 1987. A series of photographs of Le Corbusier’s buildings in Chandigarh, India, won him a residency at a London studio operated by the Swiss Zuger Kulturstiftung Landis & Gyr in 1993. He remained in London until 1996 before returning to Switzerland, where he moved to La Sagne, a remote village of four hundred people close to the French border. It was there that he began his photographic studies of snow-covered environments. In Passes (1997–2001), the artist documented the effect of heavy snowfall on manmade structures such as buildings and roads. In the series Walks (1998–2001), he left the shutter in his camera open while he roamed around on skis, often at night; the resulting photographs of his tracks in the snow at first appear to be abstract, monochromatic images. For Frozen (2000), Flechtner traveled to Greenland and Iceland, where he photographed vistas in poor visibility and intensely cold weather, creating hard-to-decipher images of vast spaces. For his recent series Bloom (2001–06), the artist departed from barren images of snow to explore more abundant compositions of cherry blossoms in Japan, synthetic landscapes in the Netherlands, and bright flowers in his own gardens in France and Switzerland. While the drastic shift in palette—from heavy monochromatic white to exuberant pinks, greens, reds, and purples—is evident, Bloom can also be seen as a natural extension of the artist’s unveiling of the disquieting consequences of the interplay between man and nature.

Flechtner has had solo exhibitions at Art Junction in Nice (1989), Nikon Galerie in Zurich (1994), Centre de la Photographie in Geneva (1999), Musée des Beaux-Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland (2002), and Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York (2002 and 2007), among other venues. He has participated in the Triennale Internationale de la Photographie in Fribourg, Switzerland (1985), The Eye of the Beholder at the Swiss Institute in New York (1996), Moving Pictures at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2003), Les Peintres de la vie Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (2007), and True North at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin (2008). He has received three Swiss Grants for the Arts (1988, 1990, and 1992), the European Photography Award (1991), and the Photography Award Canton of Neuchâtel (2004). He lives and works in Zurich and Vallierre, France.

Thomas Flechtner

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