After two years at the School of Fine Arts in Lausanne, Étienne Krähenbühl moved to Barcelona and then Paris. Returning to Switzerland, he first went to Agiez and then set up a workshop in Romainmôtier, where he devoted his time to sculpture, taking particular interest in the marks left by time on various materials. As the art consultant Joan-Francesc Ainaud writes, “The idea of time is always present in Krähenbühl’s work: time as the artist’s witness or his expression, the materialization of his memory. […] Rust and wear are both the materialization and the metaphor for time. Time as memory of a past, recollection, witness or footstep, in constant transformation.”

In what has been described as a turning point in his career, he met Dr. Rolf Gotthardt, a specialist in metal alloys and superelastic metals at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL). Their long collaboration inspired Krähenbühl to create at the intersection of science and poetry, monumentality and fragility, gravity and weightlessness—to “test the limits of materials to bring out their movements and sounds from the depths of the earth,” according to the art critic Françoise Jaunin.

The artist bypasses the physical properties of the materials to create pieces in which sound, movement, and the contrast between monumentality and fragility acquire primordial importance. To quote the art consultant Joan-Francesc Ainaud, “The results of a deep understanding of a material’s expressive potential, Étienne Krähenbühl’s sculptures offer a new and fascinating reflection on ourselves and our surroundings.” And Françoise Jaunin writes, “Always sensitive to natural phenomena and increasingly drawn to the essence of things, the sculptor constantly refines and reinforces the monumental aspects of his works to set free the memory and music of their materials.”

Since the mid-1970s, Étienne Krähenbühl has exhibited his work in solo and group shows in Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, India, China, Japan, Lebanon, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and the United States. Among his many distinctions, he received the Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation Award in 2009.


Born in 1953 in Vevey, Switzerland
Lives and works in Sarraz and Yverdon, Switzerland
【Selected Solo Exhibitions】
2019 Notre Terre / Our Earth (SEIZAN Gallery, New York)
Plastiques (Centre d’Art Contemporain, Yverdon, Switzerland)
Plastique au quotidien (La Cabinerie, Fribourg, Switzerland)
2018 Solo Exhibition (Galerie la Magnanerie, Seillans, France)
2017 Solo Exhibition (Galeria Joan Gaspar, Barcelona)
Solo Exhibition (Galerie Urs Reichlin, Zug, Switzerland)
2016 Solo Exhibition (SEIZAN Gallery, Tokyo)
Solo Exhibition (Gallery Ferrari, Vevey, Switzerland)
2015 Solo Exhibition (Galerie C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
Solo Exhibition (Museum of Fine Arts, Chambéry, France)
2014 Façade de l’Oubli (Beirut Souks, Beirut)
2013 Le Temps Suspendu (Galerie C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
Le Temps Suspendu (Museum of Natural History, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
Incandescence (Espace Arlaud, Lausanne)
【Selected Group Exhibitions】
2019 Fondation de L’Estrée (Ropraz, Switzerland)
Landscape Trail (Assens, Denmark)
2018 Matter II (Cormondrèche, Switzerland)
Success in Space! (Assens, Denmark)
Matter I (Galerie C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
Matter II (Cormondrèche, Switzerland)
2017 Bex and Arts (Bex, Switzerland)
Swissnex (Boston)
Huntenkunst (Ulft, Netherlands)
Eurasia International Sculpture Biennale (Astana, Kazakhstan)
2016 Metal for Everyone (Kulturtankstelle, Doettingen)
Inhabited Park (Villa Dutoit, Petit Saconnex, Geneva)
2015 ArtMôtiers (Môtiers, Switzerland)
Sculpture Biennale (Winterthur, Switzerland)
40 Years of the Paléo, Light Levitation 5 (Nyon, Switzerland)
India Art Fair (Galeria Joan Gaspar, Barcelona)
Memory and Dreaming (Beijing Biennale, Beijing)
2014 India Art Fair (Galeria Joan Gaspar, Barcelona)
Kunst 14 (Zurich)
2013 Art’13 Contemporary Art Fair (Madrid)
【Selected Large-Scale Works】
2019 Horizons Lousonna (Roman Agora, Lausanne)
The Swiss Ethics prize (School of Business and Engineering (HEIG), Yverdon)
Levitating Cube (Opale, Foundation, Lens, Switzerland)
2018 Dancing in the Wind (Château de Vullierens)
2017 Big Bang 2017 (GoodPlanet Foundation, Paris)
The Insufferable Lightness of the Cube (HIAG Technology Campus, Hewlett Packard, Meyrin, Geneva)
2016 200 Cubes (Pierre Arnaud Foundation, Lens, Switzerland)
Big Bang 2016 (ArtLab, EPFL, Lausanne)
2015 Roundabout (Gland, Switzerland)
2014 Big Bang 2010 (Château de Vullierens, Switzerland)
2013 Temps Suspendu (Town Hall, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
2011 SUPRA 100 installation with superconductors at MaNEP (University of Geneva)
Au fil de l’O (Rolex Learning Centra, Lausanne)
Fleurs du Mal (Aley, Beirut)
2008 Kobé (École Swisse, Barcelona)
2017 First prize at the Eurasia International Sculputre Biennale (Astana, Kazakhstan)
2014 Laureate in the competition to create an artistic bell at Grenette (Vevey, Switzerland)
2010 First prize in the Spiez Roundabout competition (not built)
2009 Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation Award
2005 First prize and installation of Onde (Manor Centre, Vevey, Switzerland)
2000 O/2000 Foundation, first prize, Tivoli roundabout (Yverdon, Switzerland)
1996 Competition at Uni Dufour, GSL II (Geneva)
First prize, edition of 350 sculptures at Gaznat (Vevey, Switzerland)
【Selected Publications Since 2013】
2019 Jodido, Philip. Under One Roof: EPFL ArtLab in Lausanne by Kengo Kuma. Munich: Prestel
Horizons, Lousonna, 24 Hours, edition of 22 June 2019
Zahno, Yves. “Le sculpteur Etienne Krähenbühl transcende l’effrayant plastique.” (20 August 2019)
2018 Ça Cartonne Twenty Years, Assens, Denmark
Le Matin Dimanche, Le Matin Sunday edition
2017 Bex and Arts, Till Schaap
Moriarty, no. 1, June 2017
Collection of the Foundation of Plastic Arts (FAP), Lausanne
Eurasia International Sculpture Biennale catalogue, Astana, Kazakhstan
“Môtiers,” Open Air Art
2016 Prisms, “Les Visages du Changement,” no. 22, Haute Ecole Pedagogique, Vaud, Switzerland
Carapaces, exhibition catalogue, Galeria Joan Gaspar, Barcelona
2015 ArtMôtiers catalogue
Catalogue of the Sculpture Biennale, Winterthur, Switzerland
Naitre l’homme de plus rien, by André Jaccard and Étienne Krähenbühl. Lausanne: Editions Couleurs d’encre
2014 Architecture and Construction, 2014
Vallet, Edouard. Autour de la Presse. Raymond Meyer Workshop
Geo Chavez, Di Tanti Uno Solo, Museum Association of Ossola
2013 Temps suspendu. Texts by Françoise Jaunin, David Collin, Étienne Krähenbühl, et al. Bern: Till Schaap and Genoud Editions