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Otmar Thormann



Exhibition view, Otmar Thormann, “Ursprung“, 2014, © Rainer Iglar

Otmar Thormann’s exhibition entitled “Ursprung“ [Origins] features photographs from the early 60s to the late 90s, covering virtually the entire time span of his photographic oeuvre. Also interspersed within the exhibition, but not showcased discretely, are photographs taken by his father, consisting mostly of snapshots of Otmar as a child. An unusual dimension in formal terms is thus added to the biographical retrospective of the artist Otmar Thormann, offering a new notion of the oeuvre.


Otmar Thormann, “56 + 58 - Stockholm“, 1983, B/W Baryt Print

The spectrum of photographs on show ranges from the street photography of his early beginnings, with gloomy images of post-war Graz and Vienna, to the surrealism-influenced still lifes taken in his Stockholm studio since the 1970s. On this (equally autobiographical) quest for the origins of his interest in photography, Otmar Thormann has delved deep into the strata of his oeuvre and his own persona, combining his classic photographs and his father’s early family photos into an associative medley of images. In an interview for the magazine Elephant Otmar Thormann had this to say about his work: “The photograph is a witness to what I have seen but could not photograph as a boy. I am only a midwife: I deliver a photograph that comes to me.”
Otmar Thormann’s oeuvre is not only reminiscent of the work of Josef Sudek, it also clearly references Hans Bellmer and Christer Strömholm. The eponymous book Ursprung published by FOTOHOF>EDITION in 2013 comprises an introduction by Otmar Thormann; 192 pages and 85 illustrations.