Peter Knapp: Infinitely Blue

Curators: François Cheval, Audrey Hoareau

© Peter Knapp

© Peter Knapp

© Peter Knapp

Peter Knapp, a key figure of 1960s Fashion and Magazines, has always avoided the industry’s devastating effects and managed to keep a distance between applied arts and poetry. His personal work, aside from his professional activities, pays tribute to the blue of the skies, the seas and the  oceans, in a constant research and redefinition of space, a quest for the immaterial world. The Swiss-born photographer, linked to the « Sky Art » movement and close to « Nouveaux Réalistes », questions our relationship to the infinite.  Due to his Bauhaus training, he has inherited the habits of fiddling, scratching, gluing and arranging his compositions tinted with a deep, complex and multi-faceted blue, that might sometimes feel soiled but always remaining pure at its core. 

The exhibition presents a set of reproductions, imbued with mysticism, monochromes and photomontage.

About the Artist

Peter Knapp (Switzerland ,1931) discovers photography in 1945 and follows training courses at Zurich’s School of Art and Design in the Graphic Arts section, a department known as a Bauhaus legacy. He moves to France in 1951 and studies Architecture at Paris Ecole des Beaux Arts (ENSBA) where he meets French artists César and Pierre Dmitrienko with whom he becomes close friends.

After working as a Graphic Designer during the 50s, he is appointed as Artistic Director of French magazine Elle from 1959 to 1966 and 1974 to 1978. During his time working for Elle he pushes the magazine towards a more modern visual language collaborating among others with photographers Robert Frank and Sarah Moon. He also works as a photographer for magazines Vogue, Stern, Elle and newspaper Sunday Times, providing portraits, fashion editorials and cover stories. In 1974, he presents his first major exhibition in Basel and since then his work has been widely exhibited in international museums and galleries including the Musée de l’Elysée (2000), Centre Pompidou (2000), Musée Nicéphore Niépce (2009), Musée des Suisses dans le Monde (2014), Cité de la Mode et du Design (2018).

In 2002, he directed three films on the history of photography for French television network TV5, and in 2006, a 52 minutes documentary film “Van Gogh's last days in Auvers”.

Peter Knapp is a member of the Rencontres de Lure (the Lure Meetings), A.G.I. (International Graphic Alliance) and lecturer at Sciences Po (Paris Institute of Political Studies).