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Who is Doris Stauffer? Born 1934 in a small village in Switzerland, she was educated as photographer in Hans Finslser’s famous Photography Class at Zurich School of Art and Design in the 1950s. Soon she also turned to other forms of art and also began to teach art herself. She immediately started to seek for new, unconventional ways and methods in art education and in 1971 was among the founders of the F+F Schule für experimentelle Gestaltung (F+F School of Experimental Design [F+F means form and color, “Form und Farbe”]) in Zürich. And she has throughout her life strongly engaged in promoting a feminism that explores new fields and topics, rather than merely aim to reform the existing society and its conventions. Until today, Doris Stauffer is working as an art critic and occasionally still in art education in museums, galleries, and other institutions. Stauffer’s own artistic oeuvre consists of photography, object-images (images made with household objects), and collages. She has also created and staged many public artistic actions.
Although Stauffer’s work has been featured in exhibitions, in Switzerland and also internationally, much of it remained unpublished. This new book for the first time documents her personality and her entire work as well as her political engagement. A wealth of images and documents is complemented by texts contextualizing Stauffer’s work historically, politically, and within history of 20th century art. Mara Züst in her essay looks at various aspects of Stauffer’s biography, her ways of teaching art, how she came to engage in the Swiss women’s liberation movement, and the art projects that emerged from this engagement. Andrea Thal contributes a conversation with Stauffer on alternative forms of art education and feminism. And Kay Turner, an anthropologist teaching performance studies at New York University and sharing Stauffer’s particular interest in fairy tales and other forms of narration, investigates and comments her work from that particular angle and also reveals her links to other female artists.
With more than three hundred illustrations, Doris Stauffer documents for the first time the life and work of this important twentieth-century artist with a focus on her political engagement. Essays place Stauffer?s work in historical and political context, including her involvement with the Swiss women?s liberation movement and an interview in which the artist imagines alternative forms of feminism and art education. Additional essays look at the influence of Stauffer on other female artists, as well as some of the recurring themes in her art, including fairy tales and other forms of narration.