Karlheinz Weinberger
18 06 …18 09 2011


Karleinz Weinberger (1921-2006), a self-taught photographer from Zurich began his artistic career in the « underground ». In 1958, he ventured off in search of the Swiss German youth that was rebelling against the country’s reigning conservatism. They invented their own codes of behaviour and Weinberger’s work reflects the gang mentality they expressed through their patched-up clothes, greatly inspired by American bikers. Rebels, the exhibition presented by the musée Nicéphore Niépce is the first solo exhibition of Karlheinz Weinberger’s work in France.
His work is gaining recognition toady and he has recently been rediscovered by fashion and cinema.
Rebel Youth a book of his work was published this year by Rizzoli in the U.S. and is prefaced by the director John Waters.

The work of Karlheinz Weinberger (1921 – 2006) presents a vision of sixties Swiss youth that is far from the usual clichés one expects from Switzerland. He was self taught and began taking photographs under the alias “Jim” in the fifties for the magazine Der Kreis , published by the gay club of the same name in Zurich.

In 1958, he made friends with a young hoodlum who introduced him to the youth scene that was rebelling against the establishment and the accepted norms of the bourgeoisie. Weinberger produced raw, realistic shots of their black leather jackets as they took their lead from America, Elvis and the films of James Dean. He studied them with curiosity and respect like an ethnologist studying a new tribe. The youths posed proudly in front of the lens, parading the exterior signs of their rebellion : brash looks, ripped jeans barely held together, customised belt buckles and zips, gang names on their jackets… All of the shots in this show were taken in the sixties. Weinberger moved on from these early rockers to photograph Hell’s Angels and many subsequent generations of young rebels. Although a stranger to this world, he was nevertheless to become intimate with its ways.

In tandem with the Fondation Suisse pour la Photographie, Winterthur

Karlheinz Weinberger
Rebel Youth
Rizzoli International Publications, 2011
Texts: John Waters et Guy Trebay
ISBN 978-0-8478-3612-3
Price : 45 euros