Swiss sculptor Schang Hutter dies

Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Schang Hutter, best known for artistic creations portraying human suffering in places like concentration camps, has died aged 86.

This content was published on June 17, 2021 - 13:57

Jean Albert (Schang) Hutter was born in 1934 in the northwestern Swiss canton of Solothurn. After training as a stonemason and in applied arts in Bern, he lived in the European cities of Munich, Warsaw, Hamburg, Berlin, and Genoa.

Hutter with some of his work in 2002. Keystone / Christof Schuerpf

Hutter’s experience in Munich, above all, shaped the style of the sculptures that made him famous.

Though he had travelled to the Bavarian capital with the aim of sculpting female figures, he was struck by the post-war devastation:

“Violence and the effects of violence were directly tangible and visible,” he said later. “Such experiences, fortunately spared me as a Swiss, were a constant feature of my thoughts and emotions in Munich.”

From the project “Human traces – neither angel nor beast” (1998). Keystone / Peter Lauth

Subsequent works included the “Dying Prisoner”, inspired by a photo of an emaciated concentration camp inmate who collapsed and died just as allied troops arrived to liberate.

In 1998 his “Shoah” sculpture, after it had been installed in front of parliament buildings in Bern, was removed and transported back to his workshop by a group of rightwingers in a night-time raid.

The Shoah work in front of Swiss parliament in 1998. Keystone / Juerg Mueller

In 2008, for the 90th anniversary of the Swiss general strike, Hutter also created a sculpture that was installed in his hometown of Solothurn – the first monument in Switzerland to celebrate the workers’ movement of 1918.

Hutter said what he aimed to achieve through his works was to show “what humans have to endure as a result of other humans”.

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