Hannes Schüpbach is a Swiss filmmaker and painter, born in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1965.
Schüpbach studied visual art at the academies of art and design in Zurich (Zurich University of the Arts, ZHdK) and in Basel (Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst) from 1988 to 1991. In 1992 he dedicated six months to cinema and performance studies at New York University. During his education two figures were very important for their influence on the artist's cinematic language: Werner von Mutzenbecher and André Lehmann. They were his professors and both engaged in experimental film movement in Basel in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1999 Schüpbach established 'Film direkt', a monthly series of artists' films at Filmpodium Zurich, where some publications on the art film were also issued. Hannes Schüpbach has become internationally known with his 16mm films, which he has presented in some of the most important European art institutions: Centre Pompidou, Paris; Biennale de l'Image en Mouvement, Geneva; Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tate Modern, London.
From the first years of his artistic career, Schüpbach also worked as painter, creating 'large, connected series of paintings'. During his first solo exhibition, 'Stills and Movies' at Kunsthalle Basel (25 January - 22 March 2009) was presented a combination of his paintings and films. As we can read on the exhibition website http://www.kunsthallebasel.ch 'both media are inseparably connected in his approach to his work. The films and the paintings are two idioms that Schüpbach adopts to articulate the major themes of his artistic work: the representation of time and movement and the complex processes of experiencing and remembering'.
About his films
The limits and limitations of the visual that Pierre Bonnard actively challenged in his affectionately hybrid Symbolist-Impressionistic domestic scenes are here, too, confronted, expanded, upended by Schüpbach’s poetic strategies. His signature use of black and soft-focus shooting evince all that lies beneath the surface, inhaling and exhaling the life force surging from his images, with echoes of silence. Of Cageian silence, of course, where the sounds of life never cease and become like music. - Andréa Picard, Material Moments. Hannes Schüpbach: Cinema Elements, p. 110.
As for Rilke’s poetic strategy, Robert Musil wrote: “He weaves things together like a carpet; when one examines them, they are separate, but if one looks at the background, they are linked through it.”Robert Musil, Rede zur Rilke-Feier, 1927. And thus a circle may be sketched, linking poem, music, and carpet through the unifying motif of the braid—the same motif that Hannes Schüpbach has taken as the compositional model for his films. Through the distribution of colored forms on the film’s surface, a play of opposites and correspondences, of syncopes and durations is created, based on the construction of a field conceived as a single opaque entity (Feldman’s “gluing-together approach”). - Philippe-Alain Michaud, The Thread of Time. Hannes Schüpbach: Cinema Elements, p. 100.
Instants, book and DVD. Revolver Publishing, 2014.
Video: 'Conversations at the Edge: Hannes Schüpbach', (2013-04-06)