The comprehensive oeuvre of Rolf Schroeter (born 1932 in Zurich) is still a largely undiscovered treasure trove. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, the Museum Haus Konstruktiv has invited Rolf Schroeter to a solo exhibition, entitled “Contact”, which is as yet his most comprehensive worldwide.
Schroeter, who studied visual communication at the Ulm School of Design, began his artistic career with experimental photography, and in this field he can certainly be described as an absolute insider tip: passion, perfection and precision – these are concepts which characterize Schroeterְ’s artwork. Since the mid-1950s, he has been developing an oeuvre which, alongside early photograms inspired by Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, mainly comprises photographs, portfolios and artist’s books.
In 1957/58, after his studies in Ulm, Schroeter worked for the Zurich Concretist Max Bill and the graphic designer Josef Müller-Brockmann. Just a short time later, he founded his own studio for photography and visual communication, which he ran until a few years ago in Zurich.
In addition, as shown by his appearances as a guest lecturer at the Ulm School of Design (1967/68) and as a guest professor of visual communication and pho-tography at the State University in Blacksburg, Virginia (1980/81), he was always concerned with conveying his technical and artistic knowledge in the field of photography to a younger generation.
The balancing act between applied art and fine art pervades Schroeter’s work. In both fields, he demonstrates playful handling of light as a factor, so it seems only logical that at the start of the 1960s he met the Düsseldorf artists' group Zero and recorded Otto Piene’s light-based experiments with his Leica. Schroeter’s seemingly experimental, abstract impressions from 1956’s “Wahrnehmung einer Brücke” (Perception of a Bridge) reveal considerable potential for sensibility and poetry. His interest in the processual is expressed in numerous collaborations with various fellow artists, such as Otto Piene, Günter Uecker, Eugen Gomringer, Heinz Mack and Richard Jackson. In recent years, these have led to joint projects of art-historical significance.
Nevertheless, only a small, select public is aware of this Swiss artist's photographic and installational work. Haus Konstruktiv would now like to change this by becoming the first Swiss museum to present Schroeter to a broad public. Alongside early black-and-white photographs, the exhibition also includes, for example, the installation “Lichtung” (Opening) which Schroeter realized together with Günter Uecker, as well as works produced with Heinz Mack and Eugen Gomringer.