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Rico Weber

1942 - 2004
Rico Weber’s work combined photography, installation and sculpture, centred on what the Swiss artist called “3D photographs”. Like France’s Nouveaux Réalistes, Weber confronted reality, observing and probing it, raising philosophical questions linked to human perception and illusion.

Originally from the canton of Zurich, Weber worked as an apprentice to an interior decorator from 1959 to 1963, before spending several years travelling in France, Austria, Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia. When he met Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle in Stockholm in 1966, this marked the beginning of a long collaboration that continued until Tinguely’s death in 1991. However, alongside this, Weber began developing his own artistic practice in the 1970s.

Inspired by the impact of modern technology on his everyday environment, Weber directed his attention to pipes, electric switches, electrical boxes, televisions, boats and all kinds of objects evoking 20th-century scientific progress. BOOT (1993) and Politische Wetterlage (1994)—like the pieces in his first series Fenêtres (1987) and Natures mortes d’énergie (1988)—show Weber’s ambition to go beyond simply capturing reality in two dimensions. He sought to test the limits of sculpture, transposing images into moulded assemblages plated with anthracite. Thus Weber challenged the flatness of photography, but without renouncing the expressive power of images, which were subjected to a point of view and often infused with personal anecdotes or collective references.

When he died, Weber bequeathed all of his works to the archives of the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Fribourg.