Hannah Villiger

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Hannah Villiger ( Johanna Franziska Villiger , born December 9, 1951 in Cham ZG ; † August 12, 1997 in Auw ) was a Swiss sculptor , photo artist and painter .

life and work

Hannah Villiger grew up in Cham as the fourth of five children of Adolf Villiger and Margrit Villiger-Laubacher. Early on, she designed idiosyncratic clothes that she could sell in a boutique in Zug. In 1971 she attended the one-year preliminary course at the Zurich School of Applied Arts and from 1972 to 1974 the specialist class for artistic design under the direction of Anton Egloff at the Lucerne School of Design.

In 1973 Villiger took part in the 1st Swiss Art Biennale at the Kunsthaus Zürich . In February 1974 she received the Federal Art Scholarship and in November a scholarship for the Istituto Svizzero in Rome.

After completing her studies, Villiger stayed in Canada from May to October, where she and Jürg Stäuble (* 1948) presented works in a joint exhibition in Toronto. In 1975 she exhibited together with Helmut Federle , John Armleder , Martin Disler and Luciano Castelli as the Swiss representative at the 9th Biennale de Paris . In 1976 Villiger commuted between Rome, Montefalco and Switzerland.

In 1977 Villiger returned to Switzerland and lived in Basel. While she was earning her living as a waitress, she took her first black and white photographs as well as wooden and plexiglass objects. The Polaroid photographs, which Villiger initially used as working material, increasingly replaced the classic black and white and color photographs. In the early eighties she began to explore her body with the Polaroid camera. This intimate confrontation increasingly became the main motif of her artistic work. The photographs show arms, legs, feet, but rarely a facial expression. The close-ups of her body, some of which were unidentifiable parts of the body, were often combined into space-related blocks in the presentation that required a viewing distance. She called these photographs "sculptural", the presentation of her pictures in space, she called "sculpture".

With her body images, Villiger joined the tradition of self-portrayals of the 1970s and 1980s, which led from Urs Lüthi , Rémy Zaugg , Jürgen Klauke , Cindy Sherman , Elke Krystufek , Orlan to the English artist John Coplans.

In 1980 Villiger fell ill with open tuberculosis and spent a month in isolation in the Basel Cantonal Hospital, followed by a stay at a health resort in Davos. Despite her poor health, Villiger took part in four group exhibitions. From 1981 to 1982 she traveled around the world with Susi (Susan) Wyss (* 1938), with whom she had been in a relationship since 1975.

In a group exhibition Villiger 1981, in that of Jean-Christophe Ammann led Kunsthalle Basel twelve reared on aluminum Polaroid shots. In 1986 she received a six-month scholarship for a residential studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. There she met the father of her child Mouhamadou Mansour (Joe) Kébé, with whom she had a son (1991).

In 1992, Villiger was given a teaching position for a limited period until 1996 at the specialist class for free spatial design (sculpture class) led by Jürg Stäuble at the School of Design in Basel. In 1994 she represented Switzerland together with Pipilotti Rist at the 22nd São Paulo Biennale . She exhibited six “body blocks” in the star-shaped pavilion designed by Basel architects Herzog & de Meuron .

In 1997 Villiger died of heart failure. Until the end she described herself as a sculptor. Villiger is one of the most important Swiss artists of her generation. She had done pioneering work with her recollection and centering on her body. Her works are represented at home and abroad. In 2001 a monograph was published with the catalog raisonné of all photo works by Hannah Villiger, edited by Jolanda Bucher and Eric Hattan .

Literature (selection)

  • Ulrich Loock, Katja Schenker: Sculptural 1995–1997. Kunstmuseum Luzern , 1998, ISBN 3-267-00123-4 .
  • Miriam Cahn , Muda Mathis , Hannah Villiger, Pipilotti Rist, Maya Rikli, Daniela Kaiser, Pia Gisler: Not just bodies - artists in conversation. Lars Müller Publishers, Baden 1997, ISBN 3-907044-52-5 .
  • Federal Office of Culture, 22nd International Festival of Sao Paulo 1994, Hannah Villiger - Pipilotti Rist. Lars Müller Publishers, Baden 1994, ISBN 3-906700-81-X .
  • Jolanda Bucher, Eric Hattan: Hannah Villiger - Catalog raisonné. Scalo, Zurich / Berlin / New York 2001, ISBN 3-908247-48-9 .
  • Urs Stahel: Darkside - Photographic desire and photographed sexuality. Winterthur Photo Museum. Steidl, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-86521-716-5 .
  • Beat Wismer, Sandra Badelt: Diana and Actaeon - The forbidden view of nudity. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2008, ISBN 978-3-7757-2357-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sikart: Portrait of Hannah Villiger, sculptural, 1990. Retrieved October 16, 2019 .