Linus Bill

Born 1982 in Biel, Switzerland

Awarded the Atelierstipendiums of the canton of Zürich and the Photography Jury Grand prize at the Hyères - Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in 2009, Linus Bill lives and works in Biel.

Bill takes photographs and assembles them into a new world that is similar to ours but where regular rules do not apply. He photographs everything, all the time: people he knows, people he doesn’t know, interiors, exteriors, living things, objects, snapshots, posed scenes; anything. Through his lens colour and form are not static.

For the past few years, I have travelled around the world to do work, and to see other people’s work.  Each of these visits is a building piece for me; I am incrementally building a picture of other people’s lives and actions, and this picture is in turn a reflection of my life and actions.

I always make time to meet with Linus Bill on these trips.  Each time we meet, a small new part of my picture of him is added. There is no rush for us.  On one day, we attend the Kunsthaus Zürich, talking about the state of art in Switzerland as a European centre, and how the country is shaping this creative identity.  Another day, we take a swim in the river. Here, Linus describes his and his friends’ struggle to learn a difficult dive, known, where I come from, as a Blackout. Another day, we walk through the city to a park with his young son.  There are many children running around, and in excitement his son falls into the children’s pool; Linus pulls him out and changes him into dry clothes, and soon after, he falls in again.

It strikes me that the work of Linus Bill runs a distinct parallel to my experience of “building a picture”.  It is equally a visual embodiment of his version of the story, and his vision for how he’d like the story to be.  This is a subtle distinction: it is the difference between how one sees things, and how one tells them.

The inherent familiarity of Linus’ work belies the complexity of its creation.  There are these layers of production, so many steps that separate the lived experience from the artwork.  The capturing of the initial image, the developing, printing, then the unusual step of transferring the image to silk screen to print the final image, in monochrome or CMYK, then framing, installing, or publishing and distributing; these steps amount to a mediation of the material, where an idealised space, a dream world with roots in reality, is founded, constructed and amended.  These mediations break the characteristic unity of the photographic form, yet they do so kindly, with attention and patience; the sensitive treatment that the subject matter, in its delicate way, calls for.  It is family, the body, art, architecture, colour and form, wonder and pathos.  The figurative and the intimate becomes destabilised next to the abstract; the abstract becomes charged next to the comical; the comical is made resonant next to the epic.

There is an image that recurs in my mind when I think of Linus.  When I met with him last, he had been in search of a new studio in his home town.  It had been a difficult task, he’d told me, but finally he had come across a suitable space.  A perfect space, as it happened.  It was a solid brick building, an old mechanic’s workshop, with an empty room upstairs.  The problem was that Linus needed to get his printing table in there.  A big, old, solid table was pitted against a big, old, solid building, with small doorways.  At the time of the story being told, his only options were to knock out some bricks from the doorway to fit the table through, or to hoist it up from the street, which would also require knocking out bricks on the outside wall.  His perfect space came with this burden: in order to make it perfect, he had to fit a lot into it.  More, perhaps, than seemed possible.

Thomas Jeppe
  

About his work

“The pictures in the book "Piss down my back and tell me it's raining." where taken during the last four years. They are the crop of a constantly attentive observation of my environment and coincidence. It's about what you see and how you look at it. There is love, melancholy, beauty, soccer, irony, friendship, adventure, everyday life, humor and the right moment.”

Linus Bill

Two years after Piss down my back and tell me it's Raining, Linus
Bill's (Bienne, 1982) second publication for Nieves brings out a new
side of Bill’s art, still a very personal and intimate body of work like
the previous one, but this time around turning the spotlight on
himself, with an introspective look at the thoughts of becoming a father
and the ways to connect and relate with his soon-to-be born child.

The drawings were produced during a 6 months stay in Paris in 2007, with a
technique Bill calls "light on photographic paper", using self-modified
pocket-lamps on black&white photographic paper, creating very
instinctive works, allowing coincidence, letting accidents happen and
leaving mistakes as they are.

Selected solo exhibitions

2010
„Am besten man bleibt zu Hause (WT)" Grand Palais, Bern, Switzerland
„The Greatest Hits Vol. 1" Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2008     
„Wir nehmen auch Euro" Dummy Galerie, Berlin, Germany
„He Who Talks Loud Saying Nothing" The Journal Gallery, New York, United States

2007     
„gehr sut" Wartesaal, Zurich, Switzerland

2006     
„Nur Häuptlinge und keine Indianer" Galerie Hafen+Rand, Hamburg, Germany

Selected group exhibitions

2013    
Werk- und Atelierstipendien der Stadt Zürich 2013 - Helmhaus Zürich, Switzerland

2012    
„Cantonale Berne Jura" Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland
„Painting and Jugs" SI Swiss Institute, New York City, United States  
    
„Was nun?" Photoforum Pasquart Biel, Switzerland

2011    
„Was Nun?" Photoforum PasquArt, Biel, Switzerland
„Everyone Is A Photographer" Milieu, Bern, Switzerland
„La Deuxième Chance" Christophe Guye Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
Aeschlimann Corti Stipendium 2011 - Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland
„Kunststück! Fellowship Exhibition" Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland

2010     
„Inaugural Exhibition" Christophe Guye Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland
„Orte" Rathausgalerie Kunsthalle, Munich, Germany
„Use Me, Abuse Me" New York Photofestival, Smack Mellon Gallery, New York, United States

2009     
Aeschlimann-Corti Stipendium, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland
„Festival International de Photographie Hyères" Villa Noailles, Hyères, France
„Lead" Hamburger Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany

2008     
Kanton Zurich Werkbeiträge Bildende Kunst, F+F Schule, Zürich, Switzerland

2007     
„The Pig in the Poke" powerHouse Arena, New York, United States

2006    
„heimlich/unheimlich" Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, München, Germany

Awards

2011    
Louise Aeschlimann und Margareta Corti Fellowship, Bern, Nominee

2009    
Louise Aeschlimann und Margareta Corti Fellowship, Bern, Nominee
Atelierstipendium des Kantons Zürich
Photography Jury Grand Prize, Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in Hyères.

Publications

2013    
SCULPTURES, by Linus Bill & Adrien Horni
Bronze Age Editions

2012    
Topmotiviert
Rollo Press
Tu M'as Volé Mon Vélo
Colpa
    
Topmotiviert
Rollo Press

2011    
La Deuxième Chance
ADC Switzerland

2010    
Ort – Bennie Baumann, Linus Bill, Peter Piller.
Bücher & Hefte

2007    
Meistens macht man die im Haus, aber im Sommer gehts auch draussen.
Nieves
Please Merry Me.
Nieves

2006    
Piss down my back and tell me it's Raining.
Nieves