Rebel Rebel: Remembering Karlheinz Weinberger (1921-2006)
In December 2006, the renowned Swiss photographer, Karlheinz Weinberger passed away in a Zurich hospital after a short grave illness. He was born 1921 in Zurich, where he lived and worked for his entire life. Weinberger leaves behind a photographic legacy which is part of many public and private collections worldwide.
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. 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. Later, in the mid-60s, the rebels dissipated both physically and in spirit, while others carried on their youthful resistance to the status quo, forming clubs of “rockers” and “bikers” that Weinberger followed with his camera on their outings into the Swiss countryside. Their retreat from the urban setting to a self-imposed isolation in nature embodied a more inward revolt, one of self-destructiveness and self-mutilation.
Rebel Rebel: Remembering Karlheinz Weinberger is a group show featuring the work of Ryan McGinley, Walter Pfeiffer, Collier Schorr, along side some of Karlheinz Weinberger’s orginal photographs. The interest in capturing images of youth and their lifestyles, spanning over several generations, is a continuing fascination shared by each of these artist.