Jean Otth

Jean Otth

1940 - 2013 Chavannes-près-Renens, Switzerland

After studying art history and philosophy at the University of Lausanne, Jean Otth attended the art school of Lausanne. From then on, his artistic trajectory, still influenced by the practice of painting, became closely tied to the emergence of new technologies. He was one of the pioneers of video art in Switzerland in the early 1970’s, and his works were soon seen in numerous exhibitions both in Switzerland and abroad: Dokumenta 6 in Kassel, A.S.A.C., the Venice Biennale, and notably the Biennale of São Paulo, where he received the prize “Art and Communication” in 1973. During that period, he collaborated with professor René Berger on the course “Aesthetic and Mass Media” at the University of Lausanne.

In the 1980’s he began to employ the computer in his works, not only for its instrumental possibilities, but for its aesthetic dimensions as well.

Jean Otth taught at the Cantonal Art School of Lausanne from 1979 to 2002.

Until his death in 2013 he pursued a work, in the form of installations, that mixed immaterial video projection with material reality, and explored their interaction.

While constantly questioning the media that he used, and at times even took as subject matter, Jean Otth produced borderline works that test the observer and provoke desire through covering-up, reframing, and shifting. The spectator is thus invited to participate in sensitive, singular experiments in which the figure is threatened with disappearance – where that which can be represented is but a question.

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Photos Virginie Otth 2012