Photographer Daniel Schwartz has long been preoccupied with climate change. The exhibition "Glacier Odyssey" in the Museum of Fine Arts in Chur is now showcasing pictures that reveal what is happening outside the museum doors.
The inspiration for Schwartz’s latest work was a stroll taken with his father to a place of childhood memories in the mountains of canton Valais. The view of today's Rhone Glacier compared to a photograph of a trip 50 years ago made the theme tangible: the ice flow that had grown over thousands of years was retreating - and practically dissolving before their eyes.
In the beginning was curiosity
After this excursion Schwartz returned home to Solothurn, in northwestern Switzerland. He worked methodologically, studying maps and contacting glaciologists. Each project starts with research, curiosity and the desire to join the dots.
The exhibition ties in with Schwartz’s own life – his personal exploration of the Alps - and is therefore biographical. He complements this with images of glacial regions in Asia, Africa and South America. The pictures and maps in the exhibition show the glacier conditions from the last Ice Age and trace their decline over the last 200 years.
Art and facts
Commenting on the exhibition opening, Schwartz said: “What you see on the museum walls today is the result of photo-journalistic work. My work is based on facts. With my camera, I go on location where I capture real-life results. It has a socio-political relevance.”
By the end of the 21st century, most experts agree that hardly any trace of today’s alpine glaciers will remain.
Politics always lags a step behind such developments. And although art is often socially relevant, it is often reluctant to engage with what is happening every day.
The exhibition in Chur builds on Daniel Schwartz's project, which was published by Thames&Hudson in 2017 under the title "While the Fires Burn". The exhibition runs from November 10, 2018 until February 17, 2019.end of infobox