Sturm & Drang 2017
With an essay by René Schlachter
In 1949 René Groebli shot a series of images around and on top of trains in France, His working style was stimulated by his experiences with moving images, his fascination with movies. In many experiments he tried to express the dynamism of movement in single photographs. Lasting experiences – like his first train journey from Zurich to Paris – brought him to a city in which he immersed fully in the themes of romanticism and movement in the atmosphere of the French steam trains.
At the end of 1949 RAIL MAGIC was published for the first time, 15 images in a publication that the artist financed himself. It was a daring opus in a time in which photography presented itself quite conservatively and hardly full of dynamism, where honest tradition demanded easily understood documentation. No surprise then, that Groebli’s images were met with rejection. Of course with time passing the work has been met with great admiration by photo historians and today an original publication is a treasured (and pricey) item by book collectors.
With a fresh perception, René Groebli started for this edition from the 15 photographs of the first publication and fashioned this new selection of 74 images, a sort of gem from the beginnings of the “Subjektive Fotografie” as a remembrance of the times when the smell of soot and of smoke intensified the magic between black and white, between Paris and Zurich.