Tomi Ungerer


March 18 – May 16, 2016

Tomi Ungerer rose to global fame as a brilliant illustrator of children's books, a provocative graphic artist, and the sharp-tongued author of more than 140 books. Apart from his writings and illustrations, however, his artistic oeuvre proper is still largely unknown. Since the 1950s right up to the present day, Ungerer has been producing collages in which he recombines and reinterprets themes he has come across – in a witty, coarse, and imaginative manner. The fact that often the smallest of touches suffice to give a theme a completely new meaning testifies to Ungerer's great skill in this field as well.

This important aspect of Ungerer's oeuvre is being showcased for the first time on the basis of 160 works straddling six decades, which were chosen in close collaboration with the artist himself. Most of these exhibits were produced over the past 15 years. The subjects Ungerer’s collages address cover a wide range of topics. His wartime experiences in the Alsace play just as much a role as the relationship between men and women or the contrast between urban and rural life. The artist's longings and nightmares also crop up repeatedly. The largest thematic group tackles the question of the body, fragmented and vulnerable, as a fetish and an object of desire. Alongside works on and made of paper the exhibition presents a selection of Ungerer's small sculptures, most of which he produced in recent years. In these works, the artist applies the principles of collage to the world of three dimensions.

Most of the exhibits were made available by Ungerer himself. Other important work groups come from Musée Tomi Ungerer – Centre international de l’Illustration in Strasbourg, the Würth Collection, and other private collections. Deutsches Plakat Museum at Museum Folkwang supplied a selection of Ungerer's important posters on political and cultural subjects.

In association with Kunsthaus Zürich

Supported by

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Tomi Ungerer
Pride and Prejudice, 2012
Sammlung Philipp Keel
© Tomi Ungerer