4 - 8 December, 2013
Rod Bianco Gallery will present a solo exhibition of photographs by the late Swiss photographer, Karlheinz Weinberger (1921-2006). An unsung pioneer of vernacular photography since the Fifties, Weinberger captured a young generation of rebels, who were greatly influenced by American culture.
For most of his adult life, Karlheinz Weinberger worked by day in the warehouse department of the Siemens-Albis factory in Zurich. In his free time, however, he escaped monotony by immersing himself in photography. Self-taught and working under the pseudonym of Jim, Weinberger began his artistic career by taking pictures for a gay underground club, Der Kreis, which published the eponymous magazine.
In 1958, Weinberger met members of a small band of working class teenagers and began photographing them both at his home, as well as at the public parks and fairgrounds where the group gathered. In post-war Switzerland, these “rebels” (referred to by the Swiss as “Halbstark” or “half strong”) were comprised of working class boys and girls dissatisfied by the conservative climate of the day. They adopted a powerful gang identity expressed in their self styled and homemade clothing--embellished jeans, motorcycle jackets, enlarged belt buckles--which referenced and emulated American icons Marlon Brando (in The Wild One), James Dean (in Rebel Without a Cause), Elvis Presley (in the film and album Jailhouse Rock).
Although created decades ago, Weinberger’s photographs have remained accessible to a relatively small group of people. They were not meant to be artworks, rather they are vestiges of a personal obsession. Beyond the documentary value of Weinberger’s work, his photos, in their triumph over objectivity, are a genuine contribution to the history of portraiture. Rod Bianco Gallery will show a mix of vintage and contemporary photographs ranging from Weinberger’s often seen and now iconic rebel youths to works previously not shown publicly elsewhere. For collectors well versed in Weinberger’s catalogue to fair visitors who have never seen a Weinberger photograph, the gallery’s UNTITLED. presentation will provide countless points of departure into the world of this amazing and still under-recognized photographer.