25 November 2006 - 01 April 2007, Heleneum - Lugano
Renowned Swiss artist Gotthard Schuh called Bali "The Island of the Gods", and his photographs of enchanting Balinese landscapes and people still foster the myth of a peaceful and unspoiled place. The island is indeed portrayed as a gem set in a bright sea; a paradise consisting of crystal clear water, stretches of palm trees and volcanoes.
Villages are enlivened by colourful festivals and ceremonies and everyone nurtures their own joy of living. The women and children in Schuh’s pictures seem shrouded in an aura of eternal youth. His great talent conveys the sublime beauty of youth that seems untouched by emotions, offering itself to the lens in all its splendour, charm and sensitivity.
The temporary exhibition was inspired by the famous portraits that Gotthard Schuh published in a successful book in 1941. The book, entitled "Inseln der Götter" (Islands of the Gods) has been translated into various languages. It is explored in the exhibition organised by the MCL in collaboration with the Swiss Foundation of Photography in Winterthur. From 2012, the exhibition has grown from 37 to 60 first prints.
Born in Germany, Gotthard Schuh lived in Switzerland and started painting as an adolescent. He subsequently enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he was interested in engravings. He travelled across Italy and France met some Avant-garde artists in Paris.
In 1926, at the age of 29, he became interested in photography and started producing reportages for the Zürcher Illustrierte. He then collaborated with internationally distributed illustrated weeklies, such as Vu, Paris Match, Life and Berliner Illustrierte.
In 1938, Schuh set sail for Indonesia, visiting Bali, Java and Sumatra. Upon his return, he published his very successful book "Inseln der Götter", consisting of photography, poems and texts, in which he portrayed the Balinese in their own heaven.