Abbot Hall Art Gallery
Raphael Hefti (b. 1978, Biel-Bienne, Switzerland) is based in Zurich and London. His diverse practice includes photography, sculpture and performance. He has had solo exhibitions at institutions including CAPC centre d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2013), Camden Arts Centre, London (2012) and Raum für zeitgenössische Fotografie, Winterthur, Switzerland (2011).
Hefti’s work uses materials whose physical properties offer an insight into various modes of transformation, whether intentional or accidental. He also chooses them for their power to produce beauty and sublime effects. Hefti originally trained as an engineer, and a recurring theme in his work is the way in which the technologies interface with elemental processes to produce aesthetic and performative results.
Disco no.7 is from a series of dramatic photographs of mountain-enclosed valleys in Switzerland, illuminated only by the dazzling flash of a magnesium flare set off by the artist. The Disco series demonstrates Hefti’s preoccupation with technology and its process, which he exploits to produce dramatically beautiful images which trigger associations with the sublime and picturesque traditions in art. There is an intensely theatrical, almost transcendent, quality to Disco no.7, which places it in the same exalted realm as sublime landscapes painted by artists represented in the Abbot Hall collection, such as JMW Turner, Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, JR Cozens and Joseph Wright of Derby.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2014