Markus Raetz

Biological Data 

Swiss artist, painter, sculptor, photographer and poet, born in 1941 in Büren an der Aare, on the Berne side. After receiving his training at the École Normale in Berne, Markus Raetz begins his artistic activity by taking an interest in image and its different translations and interpretations: his first works that turn to anamorphosis date back to 1966. Interested in shape, in language, in appearance and in transformation, Markus Raetz uses every technique he has in reach. He soon starts to exhibit and in 1965 he participates in the Paris Biennial. In 1968 he exhibits at Documenta 4 in Kassel and, the following year, at the legendary Harald Szeemann show, Quand les attitudes deviennent formes, at the Kunsthalle in Berne. Since then, he has presented his work at numerous personal exhibitions in Europe and the United States (IVAM, Valencia, 1999; Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris, 2003; Carré d’art, Nimes, 2006) and group shows (Paris Biennial, 1971; Documenta 5, 1972 and Documenta 7, Kassel, 1982; Sao Paulo Biennial, 1977). Many of his works are on display in public spaces.

Brief Chronology

Markus Raetz’s art is multiple, both for its shapes and the techniques he uses. His main subject is perception: his leitmotiv is that things are not what they are, that one thing can be another, that there is nothing that is definitive, that everything can change… This fact places his work within the mannerist tradition that comes from Arcimboldo’s grotesque figures, from anamorphosis and from the play of perspective used in the 16th century and that prevails until the portrait of the Ambassadeurs de Holbein, both in expert and popular art, and including Dalí. Also marked by Magritte, Markus Raetz plays the game of shapes as if it were a game of words. This becomes that, a yes becomes a no, a head with a hat turns into a rabbit, the pieces of wood from a forest seen from a certain angle become a crouching female figure (Mimi at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec). Markus Raetz uses all materials —soil, metal, cardboard, wood, tree branches and leaves, words from languages, letter design and photography— combined with the science of perspective and the optic process to create ambiguous images and constant transformation.

  1. L.


Ombre, 2007,

Folder containing 17 heliogravures (nº 22/23)

200 x 150 cm / 78.7 x 59.0 in.

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