The Photography of Hans Gissinger
Swiss photographer Hans Gissinger was born in 1946 in Zurich, Switzerland, and lived there until finishing his secondary education. He began an apprenticeship in civil engineering at the age of 16. After his military service, he traveled throughout Europe practicing different professions. He returned to Switzerland in 1970 and began working for the film and photography department of Pro Helvetia, a governmental cultural-exchange foundation.
In 1972, Gissinger relocated to Vézelay in the Burgundy region of France. There he befriended Claude Stassart and his son Gilles who would play an important role Gissinger’s future publishing projects.
By 1976, Gissinger was devoting all of his time and energy to photography, quickly building a successful career in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, England and France. Curiosity took him to Los Angeles in 1987, followed by a second trip to the United States to establish links with his art agent.
In the years that followed, Gissinger created advertisements for world-wide brands such as Jaguar, Condé Nast, Donna Karan, Nike, Ebel, Cartier, Ruinart Champagne, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Neiman Marcus and Lincoln Mercury.
After relocating to New York in 1994, Gissinger began to launch the artistic projects he had been planning in the area of photography and the publication of unique, experimental books. The first of these, “The Conversation,” was published in the United States in 2000. Created in collaboration with chef Marc Meneau, the book featured 370 of Gissinger’s black-and-white photographs and a text by Gilles Stassart.
His second book, “Salami,” was published in 2001. Also a collaboration with Gilles Stassart, the book included a text by Gérard Oberlé and 60 portraits of Italian sausages. At the same time, Gissinger produced a series of 15 large-format two-color silk screens on canvas taken from “The Conversation.”
In 2003, Gissinger began a third project with New York chef Frank De Carlo on the theme of fire. He interacted with different people all over the world during the travels he undertook as research for the book.
Gissinger is a photographer who is obsessed by perfection and esthetic exploration. He is passionate about the grotesque and the reality of his characters and protagonists, who often seem to be taken from the Comedia dell’arte. In his work, violence and contempt are perfectly balanced, and the highest plastic quality is maintained and idealized.
Gissinger’s work has been featured in several individual exhibitions in museums and galleries in the United States and in France, including the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris en 2000 and the Musée de la Citadelle en 2004, as well as in numerous group exhibitions in France and around the world. His work can be found in important private and public collections in Europe and the United States.
Hans Gissinger lives and works in New York.
ANTE GLIBOTA, Paris, August 30, 2007
For further information, please vist: hansgissinger.com