“I am against all forms of monotony and uniformity. I love the unknown, the absurd and the paradoxical. And I also love chaos and order, each at their right time and sometimes even at the same time: in life as on the canvas.”
– Urs Burki
Urs Burki (5.12.1945 – 10.02.2017) gained his Doctor of Medicine in 1972. He also created his first pieces of art at around the same time which included sculptures, photographs, paintings and performances. While Urs Burki followed an intensive training in surgery at the Cantonal Hospital of Lucerne, he was a member of the young art scene brushing shoulders with the likes of Urs Lüthi, Luciano Castelli and Jean-Christophe Ammann. During this time, Urs Burki met the Swiss sculptor Mandy Volz, who taught him the craft of sculpture and with whom he occasionally worked together in Pietrasanta (Italy). In Pietrasanta Urs Burki regularly exchanged with artists such as Anish Kapoor, Niki de Saint Phalle, Giò Pomodoro, Bernhard Luginbühl, Rosario Murabito, Isamo Noguchi, Cesar and others. From that point on, however, the artist was known publicly for his outstanding work as a plastic surgeon, primarily making a name for himself around the world through his spectacular open-air operations at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, on a Valais glacier, on the terrace of a luxury villa in Cologny (Geneva) and in the shadow of the Dufour peak at a height of 4500 m. These dramatically staged surgical events largely eclipsed his remarkable, extremely diverse artistic work. Why? Urs Burki had been deliberately keeping his art (sculptures, paintings, photography, poetry and performances) from the public.
The significant and highly noticed retrospective exhibition at the Bromer Kunst in Roggwil (Switzerland) set across 200 m2 provides an insight into Urs Burki’s complete, rich and wonderfully diverse works for the very first time (News). At the exhibition opening event on 31 March 2017, which was also covered by Swiss broadcasting company Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF), the artist monograph „The artist Urs Burki, Chaos and Order, Works from 1973 to 2016“ and the book „Urs Burki M.D., Openair and Inhome Operations“ were also presented to the public for the first time (Books).
Sadly, though he had spent many years working towards his first exhibition and the monograph on his artistic work, Urs Burki was not able to attend the premiere. He passed away on 10 February 2017 following a cardiac arrest.
The website of the Burki Clinic for Aesthetic Surgery provides an insight into Dr Urs Burki’s surgical work (burkiclinic.com).