Biography

1926 – 1993

HB-portrait-biog

THE SWISS AVANTGARDE ARTIST HEIDI BUCHER (1926-1993, born Adelheid Hildegard Müller)

distinguished herself particularly through her legendary „mouldings“, focussing and exploring the architectural space and the body through sculpture. It is a transformative and poetic work, that deals primarily with private spaces and belongings, architectural fragments from mostly the 19th century,  feminism, domestication and the individual or collective experiences and memory.

Heidi Bucher’s artistic legacy, is concurrently a visionary and aesthetic testimonial, as well as a conceptional liberation from an old, patriarchal affected world.

Her work is included in numerous exclusive museums and private collections worldwide.

u.o.

MOMA Museum of Modern Art, New York / MET Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York / The Hammer Museum L.A. / Centre Pompidou, Paris / The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Kunstmuseum Lucerne / Kunstmuseum Winterthur / Migrosmuseum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2016  Frieze Masters, with Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Basel, CH

2016 Hommage à Heidi Bucher und Carl Bucher, Kulturort Galerie Weiertal, Winterthur, CH.

2015 Heidi Bucher & Virginia Overton, Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich, CH

2014 Swiss Institute Contemporary Art, New York, USA

2014 Alexander Gray Associates, New York, USA

2013 Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich, CH

2013 Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, France

2013 The Approach, London, UK

2013 Art Feature with Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Art Basel , CH

2007 Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin, DE

2004 Heidi Bucher – Mother of Pearl, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, CH

1995 Kunsthaus / Barlach Halle K, Hamburg, DE

1993 Villa Bleuler, Galerie im Weissen Haus, Winterthur, CH
Und ziehen das Gestern ins Heute: Die Häute aus dem Bellevue Projekt, Kunstmuseum Thurgau, CH

1983 Hauträume, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, CH

1981 Räume sind Hüllen sind Häute, Galerie Maeght, Zurich, CH

1979 Parketthaut / Herrenzimmer / Mobili, Galerie Maeght, Zurich, CH
L‘Objet préféré de l‘artiste, Galerie Numaga, Auvernier, CH

1977 Einbalsamierungen, Borg, Galerie Maeght, Zurich, CH

1973 Bodywrappings, Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

1972 Bodyshells, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, USA

1971 Soft Sculptures to wear, Museum of Contemporary Crafts*, New York, NY, USA
Rothmans Art Gallery of Stratford/Toronto*, CDN
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal*, CDN
*Happenings in conjunction with solo shows by Carl Bucher

1958 Silkcollage, World House Galleries, New York, NY, USA

1956 Collagen, Galerie Suzanne Feigel, Basel, CH

Bibliography (selection)

2016 Heidi Bucher, Autor: Swiss Institute Contemporary Art, New York, USA. Editor: Karen Marta and Simon Castets. Buy on Amazon

2004 Heidi Bucher, ed. Heike Munder, texts by Heike Munder, Philip Ursprung, Mayo nad Indigo Bucher, publ. Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich & JRP Ringier, CH
Heidi Bucher. Cinematic Biography, text Mayo Bucher, Art Adventures, Zurich, CH (dvd)

1983 Hauträume, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, CH

1977 Heidi Bucher, Ed. Galerie Maeght, Zurich

1972 Landings. Carl & Heidi Bucher, County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA

1971 Carl & Heidi Bucher, Musée d‘Art Contemporain Montréal, CDN

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (selection)

2017 The problem with having a body is that it always needs to be somewhere, The approach. Curated by Nora Heidorn, London, UK.

2017 Venice Biennale, IT

2017 Room, Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK

2016 Frieze, The Approach, London, UK

2016 GRAND GESTURES, Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, 03. September—15. October 2016, Basel CH

2016 UNLIMITED ART BASEL
The Approach, London with Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Basel CH

2016 Revolution in the Making – 13 March – 4 September 2016 Hauser Wirth & Schimmel 901 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles CA 90013 – Download press release PDF

2015 The Menil Collection, Houston, USA

2015 The Hammer Museum Los Angeles, USA

2015 Artists and Architecture – Dimensions variables, Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris, FR

2015 NEON – Flying over the abyss, Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki, State Museum of Contemprary Art, GR

2014 Gallery Georg Kargl, curated by Francesco Stocchi, I know not to know

2013 One Torino, Palazzo Cavour, IT

2013 Slip, The Approach, London, UK

2013 M Sélection – La collection du Musée Migros d’Art Contemporain, Musée Rath, Genève, CH

2013 Collection on Display: Heidi Bucher, Thea Djordjadze, Berta Fischer, Loredana Sperini, Katja Strunz, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, CH

2012 My Body is a Cage, Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich, CH

2011 Chairs, Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin, DE

2010 At Home, Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin, DE

2008 Disguised, Rotwand Gallery, Zurich, CH
Der schöne Schein, Museum Bellerive, Zurich, CH
abc Art Berlin Contemporary, Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin, DE

2007 Sculpture Park, Bad Ragaz, CH

2004 It‘s All an Illusion – A Sculpture Project, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, CH

1993 Mise en Scène, Bex et Arts, Fondation Szilassy, CH
Das Bild hinter dem Bild. Depot der Geheimnisse, Kunstmuseum Olten, CH

1992 Force Sight, Internationale Kunst der Gegenwart, Schloss Preseneck, Neuenstadt, DE
Hautraum Binskin Bellevue, Internationale Kunst der Gegenwart, Schloss Presteneck, Neuenstadt, DE

1990 Passagen Skulptur, Bad Ragaz, CH
Musée de la Peau, Bex et Arts, Fondation Szilassy, CH

1989 Solitude-Echos, Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, DE

1988 Woher-Wohin, Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich, CH

1986 Aufgemöbeltes / Mobili, Kunstraum Palazzo, Liestal, CH
Portal, Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, DE
Fabriksaalboden, Kammgarn, Schaffhausen, CH

1985 Objekt Kunst ‑ in ausgewählten Beispielen von Dada bis heute, Kunsthaus Zug, CH
Schloss Schlösser Luftschlösser / Herrenzimmer im Baum, Schloss Lenzburg, CH
Muschelobjekte, Museum Bellerive, Zurich, CH

1983 La femme et l’Art, Trienniale Le Landeron, CH
Herrenzimmer / Ablosrauswegfliegling, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, CH

1981 Hautraum Ahnenhaus, Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich, CH

1980 Weich und Plastisch – Soft Art, Kunsthaus Zürich, CH
Türe zum Borg, Kunsthalle Waaghaus, Winterthur, CH

1979 Verletzlichkeit, Kunsthaus Zürich, CH
L’univers d’Aimé Maeght, Maison de la Culture, Rennes, FR

1978 Aktualität – Vergangenheit, 3. Biennale der Schweizer Kunst, Kunstmuseum, Winterthur, CH
Berg – Bergen – Geborgenheit, Kunstmuseum Zug, CH
Galerie Haus 11, Karlsruhe, DE

1977 Kunstmuseum Winterthur

1975 Frauen sehen Frauen, Kunstkammer zum Strauhof, Zurich, CH
Terre des Hommes, Montréal, CDN

1963 Galerie im Weissen Haus, Winterthur, CH

In 1956 she exhibited her work for the first time, at the Galerie Suzanne Feigel in Basel. She showed silk collages. Between c. 1954 and 1960 she was a close friend of the scholar, librarian and Dada expert, Hans Bolliger. In 1956 she went to New York, and made the acquaintance of the gallery owner J.B. Neumann through Bolliger. She subsequently managed his legendary World House Gallery on Madison Avenue, designed by the architect Friedrich Kiesler (the endless house). In 1958 she exhibited her silk collages and drawings there. She developed friendly contacts with such people as photographer Hans Namuth and the Cobra artist, Karel Appel.

After returning to Zurich in 1960, she met and married the artist Carl Bucher. Indigo Bucher was born in 1961, Mayo in 1963. In joint opposition to their own family and social background, the couple pursued their shared vision of an ‘artists’ family, with all the risks and consequences that entailed. Their flat on Central in Zurich, which was also their studio, quickly became an open house. Many interesting personalities of that period – such as the artist Max Bill, Bruno Bischofberger (Carl Bucher’s gallery dealer at that time), the critics Erika and Fritz Billeter and Willy Rotzler – were frequent guests.

Carl Bucher had considerable success on the art scene at the time with his ‘Landings‘. In 1969 Carl Bucher received a scholarship from the Canadian government, and the whole family moved first to Montreal, and then to Toronto for a year. Quite large exhibitions with public appeal by Carl Bucher and performances by Heidi Bucher led the family to California (Hollywood Hills and Santa Barbara), before they finally returned to Switzerland via Canada in 1973.

Among the works produced in California were ‘Bodyshells‘ and ‘Wrappings‘ by Heidi Bucher, which were shown as exhibitions in Los Angeles County Museum of Art and at the Esther Bear Gallery in Santa Barbara. With ‘Landings to Wear’ Heidi and Carl Bucher undertook their first concrete attempt at declared collaboration. It was Heidi Bucher’s idea to produce Carl Bucher’s ‘Landings’ as wearable sculptures.

In Los Angeles the couple met the PopArt artist Ed Kienholz, and both formed a lifelong friendship with him. Inspired by the Pacific Ocean, Heidi Bucher for the first time used pure mother-of-pearl pigment for the large-surface monochrome painting (using the spray technique) of her soft sculptures, some of which were wearable. Mother -of-pearl was a revelation to her. Since her childhood she had always been fascinated by the iridescence and shimmering of the tiniest shells and insects or the brilliance of a fish’s scales.

In the early 1970’s the family returned to Switzerland. From then on Heidi and Carl Bucher went their separate ways – their ideas of the husband and wife and collaboration were too different. Heidi retained the surname Bucher, but kept herself at a distance in order to pursue her own work as an artist. She rented an old butcher’s shop and a flat on Weinbergstrasse in Zurich, near Central. The spacious basement with five separate rooms, which almost without exception were lined with white, yellow or red tiles, served as her studio. Heidi Bucher painted many of th the tiles white, light blue or dark blue, which gave the rooms and individual atmosphere. In the centre of the studio was the cold store which she called ‘Borg’. It was one of her earliest skinnings, which she exhibited for the first time in 1977 with other works described as ‘Einbalsamierungen’ (Embalmings) in the Galerie Maeght in Zurich, run by Elisabeth Kübler. Many exhibitions and projects at a wide variety of venues followed. In 1990 Heidi Bucher fell ill with an incurable tumor. She died three years later in the aptly named town of Brunnen (fountain).

In his ‘Orpheus-Sonetten’, Rainer Maria Rilke, coined the metaphor of mirror blindness. Nothing material existed any longer, Rilke wrote, not even a reflection of it, but what had once been reflected was stored indestructibly in the spirit; ‘Wisse das Bild‘ (Know the picture). “This line” Heidi wrote to a friend, “really strikes me, as if my whole work was encompassed in this three words.”