The Magic Eye
This photography book is the first-ever presentation of René Groebli’s pictures spanning a good half-century – although with no claim to completeness. Mirjam Cavegn personally selected the pictures, introducing us to the wide spectrum of Groebli’s photography. She produced this publication with her gallery as a tribute to an artist whom she has represented for many years, building friendship with him over the years and devoting several exhibitions to his work.
René Groebli already scaled the Olympus of photographic history with his early work: Rail Magic (1949) and The Eye of Love (1952), and yet his lifework encompasses so very much more. He has spent over six decades in single-minded, experimental pursuit of images that both jog visual assumptions and chart new territory – whether in the four walls of his studio, in his dark room or in his Alsatian country house, whether on the road in London or Paris, Ireland or Peru.
The photographs are not arranged in strict chronological order, but rather represent what might be called a lyrical response to René Groebli’s approach, for his perception of the world is as much felt as it is seen.
Thus, between these pages, we encounter the sizzling eroticism of newlyweds in Paris and eloquent testimonials to the artist’s admiration of his partner Rita. We discover his fascination with movement and speed, brilliantly rendered through blurring and near breakneck angles of view. We encounter the saturated hues of his unique, innovative colour photography, through which even commissioned work becomes timeless art. The visceral poetry of Groebli’s images erupts time and again, touching the very core of our being.
“We cannot help feeling that here at work is a shaman of photographic grain and chromatic brilliance, an uncompromising craftsman trying out an endless array of ideas. It is a feast for the eyes when the lifework of this artist and photographer passes in review. Every picture of this artist is a remembrance of lived time. An outstanding, astonishing oeuvre has accumulated in the course of his life. This publication bears witness. An enchanted world, page after page. It reveals René Groebli as a magician with the camera and the camera as his magic eye.” From the Foreword of Daniel Blochwitz
“René Groebli has always been an artist on the move. Movement is second nature to him, which explains why the development of his art does not follow a linear path and his works cannot be read as single iconic pictures. Groebli feels and works lyrically. He apprehends the medium of photography as a centrifugal force moving out from the centre – a centre that is dynamic, the primal form of creativity.” - Daniele Muscionico
Cover photo credits: René Groebli