Balthasar Burkhard

Kunsthalle Bern

Balthasar Burkhard works with photographs, which means that his pictures partake of an illusionist medium whose material character is distinctly superficial. It’s hard, in other words, for photographs to develop their own sensual presence apart from whatever object or scene they depict. These givens of photography are important to Burkhard’s work, for ultimately his oeuvre is to be understood at least in part as a subversive probing and challenging of the medium per se.

Burkhard’s approach is as straightforward as possible: no toying with the motif or object of the (re)produced image, no laboratory manipulations, no “art photography” in the traditional sense. Instead, taking on his medium through virtuosi, craftsmanship, Burkhard turns photography into a star witness against itself. His subjects are people, animals, plants—elementary nature in the broadest sense. Yet though his views always

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