Arnold Odermatt is celebrating his 90th birthday, and Galerie Springer
is joining in: For this very special occasion, the gallery hosts an exhibition displaying a selection of his masterpieces. In addition to his well-known jewel, Karambolagen, the exhibition features some of the masterful works from his series In Zivil and Im Dienst.
Like many times in the past, Arnold Odermatt surprises the art world again, even at this age: Galerie Springer presents a new, previously unseen series by the artist at the 90th birthday exhibition in Berlin. Odermatt photographed an enormous tree close to his home over several years, always from the same perspective.
For Arnold Odermatts birthday on 29 May 2015, the gallery will host an artists discussion between Odermatt and Dr. Beate Kemfert, chair and curator of the Opelvillen Rüsselsheim Foundation for Art and Culture, at 7pm. Dr. Kemfert curated the first exhibition Odermatts work, Karambolagen for the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt Police Headquarters in 1998, where Harald Szeemann saw Odermatt's photographs for the first time. From this exhibition, a close collaboration developed between Dr. Beate Kemfert, Arnold Odermatt, Urs Odermatt, the son of the artist and publisher of his books, as well as the Galerie Springer.
The artist was born in 1925 in Oberdorf, in the Swiss Canton of Nidwalden. He attended the primary and secondary school in Stans and trained as a baker and confectioner. In 1948, Odermatt joined the police force and in 1990 retired with the rank of First Lieutenant, Head of the Traffic Police and Deputy Commander of the Nidwalden police. At the start of his term of service, he asked if he could photograph the numerous accidents that he attended as part of his work. He developed the negatives at home and used the images to complete his accident reports. Once Odermatts photographs had proved to be useful in court, a dark room was set up for him in a small room at the police station.
At the start of the 1990s, his son, the film director Urs Odermatt, was researching for a film when he discovered decades of archived traffic accidents that had happened in the Canton of Nidwalden. Impressed by the quality of the work, he became the editor of all Arnold Odermatts books that have been published to date. The books Karambolage, Im Dienst/On Duty and In zivil/Off Duty were published by Steidl. In 2001, Harald Szeemann exhibited a selection of 32 works by Odermatt at La Biennale in Venice. Numerous international solo and group exhibitions followed, including solo exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago (2001), Centro Cultural Okendo in San Sebastian (2005) and La Cambre, Stasbourg (2012). The works of Arnold Odermatt currently form part of numerous international collections and are displayed at a number of international museums. The artist lives and works in Stans.