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Arnold Odermatt The copper who became a renowned photographer

Ex-policeman Arnold Odermatt became an overnight sensation at the age of 76 when curator Harold Szeemann discovered his photographs and showed them at the Venice Biennale. The photos are now on show in Zurich.

Born in 1925 in Stans, Switzerland, Odermatt worked as a policeman in canton Nidwalden. Over the years he photographed vehicles involved in accidents, transforming these metal wrecks into works of art. At the start his pictures were intended for use as evidence in court. 

At the start of the 1990s his film-maker son Urs stumbled across thousands of his father's photographs in the attic, and recognising their artistic merit, organised a first exhibition that gained public and artistic acclaim. 

After his works went on show at the Biennale, other exhibitions went on tour around the world. They were also published in the book "Karambolage"external link. Odermatt's son, a theatre and film director, remained in charge of the 60,000-strong collectionexternal link.


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