© Karlheinz Weinberger

From the rebels serie; Zurich, ca. 1961

Karlheinz Weinberger
Photographs 1954 - 2001

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of photographs by Swiss photographer, Karlheinz Weinberger. The gallery will feature a selection of works spanning his career from 1954 to 2001.

Weinberger, now 82, worked for thirty years in a Siemens-Albis warehouse in Zurich, but at the same time pursued a parallel life as a photographer. Self-taught and working under the pseudonym of "Jim", Weinberger began his artistic career taking pictures for a gay underground club, "Der Kreis" which published a magazine by the same title. Weinberger's homoerotic photographs for "Der Kreis" married a classic approach favored by photographers such as George Platt Lynes, with a more documentary style "which took America, as much as antique Greece, as its emblem, and the working class body rather than the classical nude, as its object of desire" (Kate Bush, Great 43, for the Photographer's Gallery in London).

In 1958, Weinberger met a member of a small band of teenagers and began photographing them both at his home studio as well as at the public parks and carnivals where they gathered. In post war Switzerland, these self-named "rebels" were comprised of working class boys and girls dissatisfied with the conservative and conformative culture of the day. Inventing their own code of behavior and dress they affected a powerful gang identity expressed by an affinity for like-minded American imports such as James Dean, Elvis, blue jeans and motorbikes. "With their teasy-weasy hair, gigantic belt buckles, extravagantly iron-mongered crotches, and furry pelts, 50s America met a strangely tribal past." (Ibid, Kate Bush, Great 43). Weinberger always kept a self-imposed distance from the lifestyles of his young subjects, preferring to capture their revolutionary potential on film. Ultimately, this boundary allows the viewer to see the dichotomy of their explosive teenage spirit, as both objects of fear and desire.

In the mid-60's, as they grew older, the rebels dissipated both physically and in spirit: some serving their mandatory stints with the Swiss military with nary a protest others ironically pursuing a lifestyle of home and family that they had previously "revolted" against. But others carried on their youthful resistance to the status quo. They formed clubs of "rockers" and "bikers" (these biker clubs would later become the first Swiss branches of the infamous "Hell's Angels") that Weinberger followed with his camera on their outings into the Swiss countryside, showing their retreat from the urban to a self-imposed isolation in nature. Weinberger's subjects now embody a more inward revolt, one of self-destructiveness and self-mutilation.

The gallery will also feature more recent images of the artist's continuing fascination with youth, masculinity, and marginalized sub cultures. Karlheinz Weinberger was the subject of a one-person exhibition at The Photographer's Gallery in London in 2002 and also at the Museum fur Gestaltung, Zurich in 2000.

November 21 - December 20, 2003
Gallery Hours: Tue- Sat 10am - 6pm

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
526 W. 26th Street, Room 213
New York, NY 10001
Telephone +1 212 243 3335
Fax +1 212 243 1059
E-Mail gallery@nicoleklagsbrun.com