Hans Jörg Glattfelder was born 1939 in Zurich.
He started to study at the local university (law, history of art, archaeology), but in 1961 he got involved in a project for social development in Sicily. After short studies at the “Academia” in Rome in 1963 he settled in Florence. In its beginnings his painting was influenced by the strict geometric rules of the (Zurich) “concrete art” to which he gave a quite personal interpretation in the light of early Renaissance architecture.
1966 he had his first one-man exhibit in Milano, in the gallery “numero” of Fiamma Vigo. In Florence he published the art-review “comunicazione” with the poet Claudio Popovich. He published a pamphlet claiming anonymous, industrial manufacturing of art for everybody; and he demonstrated his theory by mass-producing plastic pyramid elements which he assembled in coloured reliefs. With such pyramid reliefs he participated successfully in many group exhibits of the European constructivists.
1970 he moved to Milano. In the new surrounding he frequented
the artists Mario Ballocco, Antonio Calderara, Gianni Colombo and Luigi Veronesi.
Taking a hint from the specialist in cybernetics Silvio Ceccato, Glattfelder
got acquainted with recent evolution in geometry and contemporary spatial
representation. As a result of these studies in 1977 he started a series of
works which he called “non-euclidean metaphors”.
1977 the Swiss painter R. P. Lohse presented him to the philosopher H. H. Holz who reminded him the social implications of constructivist art: this was the beginning of a still lasting dialog between the two men. H. H. Holz has dedicated several exhaustive studies to the work of Glattfelder.
The artists own reflections focussed on the possible relation between art and scientific culture. In a pamphlet against the cult of irrationalism in art he clarified his own position as “meta-rationalism”. By this term he understands a plastic language in which rationality is both: questioned and focussed as central theme. Glattfelder states, that a proficient dialogue between science and art starts with the mutual discussion and clarification of the methods.
1987 he was honoured in Zurich with the “Camille-Graeser- Price” on suggestion of the poet Eugen Gomringer and the art critic Willy Rotzler. In the following year he changed his residence from Milano to the lake Orta, attracted there by the very particular light which Antonio Calderara had so often described to him in Milano. Glattfelders pictorial language acquainted more simplicity: he created the series of the “synthetic reliefs”.
1990 he lived in New York City on a fellowship granted by Zurich. As the most vivid memory of this year he remembers the frequent visits in Leon Polk Smiths studio with whom he kept in touch also after his return to Europe.
In 1992 the Josef Albers Museum organized a retrospective exhibition of his work.
1998 he moved to Paris where he still lives.
im Gespräch mit Hans Heinz Holz
Atelier Rue Beaubourg