Jennifer Higgie on Arnold Odermatt

The Society for Contemporary Art invites you to the opening of focus: Arnold Odermatt Tuesday, October 22, 2002. Arnold Odermatt (b. 1925) has been making beautiful, haunting, eccentric photographs for more than sixty years. His images, however, have only recently been presented as art. Odermatt utilized his camera to document traffic accidents and record the activities of his fellow policemen during his years in service in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden from 1948-1990. He created the majority of his deadpan, documentary images as personal corollaries to those which accompanied police and accident reports in his picturesque Alpine region, most notably in the village of Oberdorf where he was born. Although not formally trained as a photographer, Odermatt made images that evidence a studied appreciation for romantic landscape scenes. At the same time they purport to offer clinical detail of an accident or police procedure. The results are a wholly original and surprising compendium of both ordinary and quietly extraordinary moments in the everyday. Odermatt?s lifelong project can most certainly be understood in an art historical context. His work calls to mind such diverse sources as Weegee?s ?scene of the crime? pictures of the 1930s and 1940s; Swiss photojournalist Werner Bischof?s thematically linked series of the 1940s and early 1950s; Andy Warhol?s interest in the banal spectacle of disaster and accident in the 1960?s; and, even, Gabriel Orozco?s serial investigations of the poetics of chance in the urban environment in the 1990s. His photographs were recently on display at the 49th Venice Biennale. This focus presentation will be the artist?s first exhibit in the United States.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Members – $40

05:30PM – 06:30PM – Reception
Gallery 135

06:30PM – 07:30PM – Lecture
Price Auditorium