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HANSRUEDI BüCHI (article first published : 2000-04-26)

Continuing its sponsorship of the visual arts in South Africa, the Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation is presenting a unique photo essay of the Namib by Swiss photographer, Hansruedi Büchi. This exhibition comprises a collection of large format photographs and is at present travelling through South Africa and Namibia. Recently seen at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, the exhibition of this collection in Durban will be held in the Durban Art Gallery and will be opened on May 3 by Steve Hilton-Barber, photographer and journalist. The exhibition closes on June 18.

Hansruedi Büchi was born in 1938 and grew up in Winterthur. He studied at the school for Applied Art in Zürich where he received training as a gravure printing retoucher and later as a photo lithographer. From his earliest years he was devoted to photography and spent several years in Australia and Canada. He has journeyed extensively through Australia, Asia, America and Africa. Since 1993 he has been exhibiting regularly in Switzerland and in 1994 the National Gallery of Namibia in Windhoek presented an exhibition of his work. Over the past years he has been living mostly in Namibia and last year he exhibited the Namib photo-essay under the title Verweht vom Wind (Wind blown) in the Huberte Goote Art Gallery in Zug.

It appears that the wind which is responsible for everything in Namibia - from the ever-changing dune structures to the humidity from the cold Atlantic ocean, to the seeds and other wind-borne living forms ­ has also blown life into Büchi.

His own words sum up best the fascination, the love and respect for the wind-blown Namib which he tries to capture in his large format photographs: "For many years,´he says, “my wife and I have regularly visited the red dunes of the Namib. On extensive hikes we continue to discover new shapes, patterns and formations. Light and colour vary to an amazing degree depending on the hour of the day and the time of the year. However, there are moments when you want to leave the area quickly, as violent strong winds change it suddenly into a howling dust bowl. We love to return to this fascinating part of the desert for new inspiration and to take photographs but also for the peace and solitude this unique area offers."




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