“Catherine Gfeller incorporates people, buildings, bridges, windows, cars and every other fixture of urban life into her photography. She walks through cities with her camera in hand, snapping pictures of architecture and pedestrians in their surroundings. There is a sense of immediacy to the images – a capturing of the photographer’s own sudden intrigue with certain, perhaps momentary, scenes,leaving little time for careful composition and positioning. Gfeller’s work truly emerges back in her studio where she chooses a single or numerous images which she duplicates, layers and arranges into linear, geometric compositions arranging, tweaking and adjusting every element. The fractured and repeated images create bold, rhythmic photographs that echo the lively cadences of the city. Single scenes that are repeated a dozen times in the same piece capture a moment and become ruminations on the passage of time. Many of the photographs are populated with anonymous pedestrians, superimposed one over another, over another, like memories of previous moments layered over the present. In other works, transparent figures become one with their surrounding architecture. Catherine Gfeller does not just quietly observe and distantly photograph the places she visits. She is immersed in these cities and is moved by their colors, buildings, pace, light and vibrations. Gfeller’s montages suspend time and space, offering new versions of the realities she records with her camera.”
Catherine Gfeller is a Swiss artist. Born in Neuchâtel in 1966, she lives and works in Paris and in Southern France after having lived several years in New York.
In 1991, she obtains a Master’s degree in French literature and Art History as well as a certificate of pedagogical skills (C.A.P.E.S.) from the University of Neuchâtel and then teaches for several years.
She begins photography in the 1980s by devoting herself to landscape photography.
In 1995, she gets a grant to pursue her research in New York, where she lives until 1999. There, she creates the series Urban Friezes, long horizontal compositions, obtained by assembling and superimposing images, giving life to a universe close and far from the reality of the city.
In 1999, she moves to Paris where she received the HSBC Foundation Prize for Photography. From that moment, the city, taken in a metaphorical sense, is a source of inspiration for many works (Multi-compositions) that combine photography, video and writing. In some series (The Undresses, The Waders, the Insiders) female protagonists are depicted as theirs bodies are immersed in the outisde and inside worlds in a game of multiple interweavings.
In 2010-2011, the monograohic exhibition Pulsations is shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Kunstmuseum in Luzern KKL and the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Sète. Visitors are invited to wander through large-scale installations with photographs, videos, sound pieces and multi-projections; they are transported into fictional worlds.
In 2014, after several residencies in South Africa, the WAM Museum in Johannesburg presents her exhibition Passing the City through You.
Throughout 2015, Catherine Gfeller is the guest artist at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. She proposes fifteen interventions combining different media to create a dialogue between Paul Klee’s art and Renzo Piano’s architecture, including a sound journey exploring the interior of the museum and the surrounding landscape.
After various stays in Ukraine, in 2017 the Shevchenko National Museum of Kyiv invites Catherine Gfeller to show her solo exhibition: Voices in Kyiv. In this project, she presents the work done by accompanying Ukrainian writers through the districts of Kyiv, mixing their interpretations of the city with her own vision in a game of mirrors where reality and fiction meet.
Currently, Catherine Gfeller is involved in a long-term project on megacities in China, focusing her camera on women’s vision in particular. The first part was exhibited at the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou in 2018. Evolving in time through various residencies, China Driftings will the be presented in Hong Kong, Chengdu and Beijing during 2020.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Vent sur les Paysages, Flux dans les Villes, Galerie Turetsky, Geneva
China Driftings, Galerie RX, Paris
Driftings, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, Chine
Voices in Kyiv, Shevchenko Museum, Kiev, Ukraine
Cinéma et Photographie, Festival 7e Art, Marie du VII, Paris
Fins de parties, HtH, Théâtre national des 13 vents, Montpellier
A la croisée des mondes, (Maximilien de Meuron), MAHN, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
ZigZag ZPK (photo, video, installation, performance, parcours sonore), Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern
Frises urbaines, Espace photographique Batut, F- Labruguière, Midi-Pyrénées
The City is passing through you, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
Au plus noir du Jour, Carzaniga Gallery, Basel
Processions, Galerie AL/MA, Montpellier
Identity, Galerie C, Neuchâtel
Selected Group Exhibitions
(is coming) Bxl Universel, L’Usine électrique, Bruxelles
Fotografica, FotoMuseo, Bogotà
Art Genève, Galerie Rosa Turetsky, Geneva
Carnets, Halle Nord, Centre d’art en l’Ile, Geneva
Dialogues Art sacré/art contemporain, différentes églises, Ariège
Arts Speak Out, Ikono TV, Museum Istanbul Modern, Istanbul
Du rêve à l’utopie MdM, Galerie C, Neuchâtel
Cityscapes, Carzaniga Gallery, Basel
Art en plein Air Môtiers, Môtiers, Switzerland
Imago Mundi Helvetia, Luciano Benetton Collection, Fondazione Cini, Biennale di Venezia, Venise
Festival Photographie Alt+1000, CH- Rossinière, Switzerland
A.I.R, Hospiz Arlberg, St. Christophund Bregenz, Austria
Meta Project, Galerie Laurent Müller, Paris
Kunst Zürich, Galerie Carzaniga, Zurich
Le Nonante-Neuf, Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles