Peter Wüthrich (b. 1962 in Berne) lives and works in Interlaken.
Since the early ’90s, his work has been focusing on the medium of the book, which he takes as a subject and constitutive unit of all his creations. Within repetitive compositions of linen books, each book becomes a single block of color, like a digital pixel, whose printed cover is indicative of imagination and adventure—world literature, art, religion, history, fiction, science, philosophy, mythology—topics and titles among seemingly countless references. Whether using whole, closed linen-covered books or cutting shapes (such as angels and butterflies) out of the covers, Wüthrich employs the book as an object and metaphor, ultimately in reference to humanity. By doing so he liberates the book as artistic reflection of the subject of life, which in our projections very often remains an emblem of a freezed subject. In Wüthrich’s works, books are far beyond mere physical objects. They are characterized by their ambiguity and – without questioning their status as books – they become real beings. For Wüthrich, a medium that has generally been seen as standing in contrast to the work of a visual artist, become the core of the investigation, his object of desire. In his works, varying from wall pieces to installations, to photographs and films, Wüthrich uses and transforms books into other forms of reality. Not only he exploits their aesthetic value, but also the abstract (for its color and monochromatic surface), the sculptural (for its physical, sometimes ephemeral, presence) and the Pop (as object of consumption). Within his work, Wüthrich supplements and often replaces the auratic boot of the book in a playful manner, often using a variety of literary references and borrowings. Wüthrich’s book studies advance its subject to its own borders with a relaxed accuracy and meticulous ease, show it entangled in constantly new constellations and stories and his world presents us with endless possibilities in which books become illustrations of themselves, allowing for imagining a transformed reality. Books are taken out again in the real world, crossing boundaries between art and life, narrating and creating new stories, with a pictorial and scultorial language.
An ongoing photographic project is “The Angels of the World”. Inaugurated in 2000 in Los Angeles, it is a series of photographs taken in various cities around the world that portray everyday people with books open on their shoulders, as if they were angels’ wings.
Peter Wüthrich has been showing his work in solo exhibitions held in institutions all over the world, such as: Foundation Paulo Coelho et Christina Oiticica, Ginevra (2019), La Chartreuse de la Lance, Concise (2017), Kunsthalle, Mannheim (2012), University Museum of Contemporary Art, Massachusetts (2007), Fondation pour l’art contemporain Salomon, Annecy (2006), OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz (2005), Kunsthalle, Winterthur (2003), CGAC Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela (2001), Rupertinum, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg and Kunsthalle und Kunstverein, Bremerhaven (2000), Kunstverein, Freiburg and Neue Galerie, Dachau (1999), Kunstverein, Friedrichshafen (1998), Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl and Institut für moderne Kunst, Nuremberg (1997), Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, Aachen (1996). Among the most important group shows in institutions: MUSAC, León (2018), Städtisches Museeum, Jena (2016), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2013), MAC, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille (2012), Künstlerforum, Bonn (2011), Portland Museum, Portland (2009), Centre d’art contemporain, Vassivière (2008), Neues Museum, Nuremberg (2007), FRAC Alsace, Sélestat (2006), CGAC Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela (2004), MART, Rovereto (2002), Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster (1998), MoMA PS1, New York (1997), Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (1995), Kunstmuseum, Thun (1992).