Biography

Born in Bhamdoun, Lebanon, in 1933 to a Swiss father and a Lebanese mother, Hafis Bertschinger grew up in his native country, as a adolescent he moved to Zurich with his family. His mixed origins and multilinguism led to the path of creation and extensive journeys around the world. Having studied plastic arts at the Slade School in London, and with his degree in history of art at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland).

 

Hafis developed works out of his travels which have been widely exhibited. Seizing the trends of our time, he transposes them into a personal language of simplicity, energy and action. Since 1970 he has his studio in Cormerod, Canton Fribourg.

 

 

Important dates

1958

In Paris, he specializes in sculpture and works in the studio of the sculptor François Stahly.

1963 He teaches drawing and sculpture at Arkansas Art School, Little Rock, Arkansas. And won the sculpture prize of the Delta-Show in 1964.
1966–67 Stay at the Cité des Arts in Paris.
1970 Settles permanently in Cormérod (canton of Friborg) where he has his workshop.
1971 Participates in the first Swiss archaeological expedition on the Euphrates as a draftsman.
1973 Foundation of the Mara Gallery at the Rue d'Or in Friborg and became a member in 1974 of the SPSAS
1977–78 Two trips to Egypt: study and photography on Egyptian facade paintings on the theme «Images of pilgrimage to Mecca».
1982 Oregon Trail: Hafis traces the course of General Sutter. 3000 km with his horse George.
1984 Crossing the Atlas. 600 km on a donkey. Hafis decorates ceramics among Berbers and Fes.
1985 Tour of Helvetia. 1500 km with his horse Stefan following the border.
1987–90 River trilogy: The Sarine, the Rhone and MAMIMI (Madison, Missouri and Mississippi) with Walter Tschopp.
1991 Celtic travel: Hafis trip from Switzerland to Ireland.
1992 Japan Dragon Trail. 2500 km by bike.
1995–96 Travel by train from Cape Town to Nairobi.
1998 New Zealand Expedition.
1999 Aurora Borealis: trip to Alaska.
2004 Journey with video artist Jacqueline Surchat in China, Samarkand, Taschkent, Beirut and Morocco.
2006-10 Annual trips to Dubai and stay in Ras Al Khaima where he works at RAK-Ceramics
2010–11

Stay in the studio «Jean Tinguely», City of Arts, Paris. Canton of Friborg Scholarship, Switzerland.

Annual trips to Japan and Morocco, where he built a pied-à-terre.

2012 Trip to Mexico for his project on the Day of the Dead.
2013 Trip to Japan to prepare his exhibition on kofuns in Paris.
2013 «Back to the roots» trip with his grandson in Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
2014 Travel to New York with his granddaughter then Salt Lake City and Yellowstone Park to prepare the project in 2016 to make the Oregon Trail by air.
2014-15 4 trips to Accra, Ghana.

 

 

Workshop at Eidberg, 1968
Workshop at Eidberg, 1968

 

The Fours, France, 1967
The Fours, France, 1967
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Emirates, 2009. Photo: Bernhard Sperling, Dubai

 

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Tour of Switzerland with Stefan, 1985. Photo: Erling Mandelmann

 

Crossing the Atlas, 1984
Crossing the Atlas, 1984
Oregon Trail with George, 1982
Oregon Trail with George, 1982

 

Avec Mark Tobey, Bâle, 1971
With Mark Tobey, Basel, 1971

 

Moulin à papier, Bâle, 1970
Paper mill, Basel, 1970