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Female face in mirror, held by hand, concave reflection, on blue cover, René Burri Explosions of Sight in black font down right edge

René Burri - Explosions of Sight

Edited by Mélanie Bétrisey
Edited by Marc Donnadieu


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  • New concise monograph on celebrated Swiss photographer René Burri, drawing on his archive and featuring previously unpublished archival material
  • Also presents Burri's own book designs, exhibition projects, travel diaries, collages, and watercolours
  • René Burri is one of the 20th-century's great photo reporters
  • Published to accompany an exhibition René Burri: An Eye Explosion at the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland between 29 January and 3 May 2020
Full Description

Swiss photographer René Burri (1933-2014) has been wherever history had been played out. A member of the famous Magnum Photos cooperative since 1955, he photographed in the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s, recording the Six-Days and Yom Kippur Wars, as well as the Vietnam War during the 1960s. His many travels took him to Japan and China, across Europe and the Americas to report sharply many of the 20th century’s major events. His extraordinary sense for people and their personalities helped him create portraits of celebrities such as architects Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, and Luis Barragàn; or artists Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Tinguely. His iconic picture of Che Guevara with cigar, shot in 1963, is one of the world’s most famous and widely reproduced photographic portraits ever. Burri had a close relationship with Lausanne’s Musée de l’ Elysée and in 1987 the museum staged a first exhibition of his work, entitled The Ruins of the Future, followed by his first major retrospective in 2004. The museum also hosts the Fondation René Burri, which the artist established in 2013 as a home for his estate. Published to coincide with a new exhibition at Musée de l’Elysée in spring 2020, René Burri: An Eye Explosion draws from this vast collection. It brings together for the first time Burri’s entire body of work, photographic and non-photographic. Black-and-white and colour photographs feature alongside previously unpublished archival documents as well as book designs, exhibition projects, travel diaries, collages, watercolours, and other multiple objects he collected. It offers a new, multi-faceted and uniquely intimate view of one of the world’s greatest photo reporters. Published to accompany an exhibition René Burri: An Eye Explosion at the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland between 29 January and 3 May 2020.

About the Author

Mélanie Bétrisey is assistant curator and in charge of the René Burri Collection at Musée de l Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland. Marc Donnadieu is Chief Curator at Musée de l Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Look Inside
Scheidegger & Spiess
17th Feb 2020
World excluding Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, United States, Canada, and Japan
273 mm x 210 mm
200 Pages
106 color, 148 b&w
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