Heidi Bucher

Heidi Bucher with the skinned floor of Ahnenhaus, 1980-1982.


Heidi Bucher (b. 1926 Winterthur, Switzerland; d. 1993, Brunnen, Switzerland) was a pioneering Swiss artist, widely recognized for her groundbreaking technique of 'skinning' domestic architecture. Her work is featured in numerous international public and private collections such as MoMA Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; KADIST, Paris and San Francisco; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst; Musée Jenisch Vevey; Kunstmuseum, Winterthur; and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Heidi Bucher attended the School of Applied Arts in Zurich from 1942 to 1946, where she specialized in Fashion Design. After several years spent between New York, Canada and California she returned to Switzerland in 1973. Here, she started working in her new studio in Zurich, a former butcher’s store, which she coated in latex. She then undertook the laborious task of pulling the latex off the solid architectural surface, often wrapping the cast material around her body in the effort to remove it from the wall. Bucher would continue to apply her skinning technique to objects, clothes and even bodies as a way of expanding her critical investigation into transformation, space the individual and memory. From her return to Zurich in the early 1970s Bucher split her time between Switzerland and the island of Lanzarote, Spain, for the rest of her career.

Bucher is among one of the most radical artists of her time, especially in the field of sculpture and performance in the late 20th century. Solo institutional exhibitions of Bucher’s work have been organised by Muzeum Susch, Zernez, Switzerland (2022) (forthcoming); Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2022); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2021); the Parasol unit, London (2018); The Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art, New York (2014); Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris (2013); Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2004); Kunstmuseum Thurgau, Warth (1993); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (1972); Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal (1971); and Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York (1971) among others. In 2017 her work was included in the 57th Venice Biennale, Italy, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel. Contemporaneously, ALMA ZEVI organised an exhibition of Bucher’s work paired with those of Gordon Matta-Clark titled FLOORS. Heidi Bucher had a solo show at ALMA ZEVI, Venice in 2019 (Sublime Geometry) and her work has been recently included in EARTH alongside James Capper and Keith Arnatt and The Venice Show at ALMA ZEVI, Venice (2021 & 2020). 

Heidi Bucher, BORG (Wandstück) BORG (Wallpiece), 1975-1977
Heidi Bucher, Untitled (BORG), 1976
Heidi Bucher, “Blätzli” Floorpiece from “Herrenzimmer” Winterthur, 1979
Heidi Bucher, “Blätzli” Floorpiece from “Herrenzimmer” Winterthur, 1979
Heidi Bucher, 8 Der Parkettboden des Herrenzimmer in Wülflingen, Winterthur, 1979
Heidi Bucher, 45 Der Parkettboden des Herrenzimmer in Wülflingen, Winterthur, 1979
Heidi Bucher, Untitled, 1986
Heidi Bucher, Untitled, 1986
Heidi Bucher, Boden Dunkel / Dark Floor, 1991
Heidi Bucher, Der Schlüpfakt der Parkett Libelle, 1981