While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey

An artist’s journey along humanity’s troubled path of progress, leading from the relics of Holocene glaciation in Switzerland and the Alps into the milieu of the Anthropocene, to collapsing glaciers on three continents. The outcome, a “glaciology in pictures,” as it were, is the result of a synthesis of scientific observation and artistic engagement. The subject is the glacier’s repertoire and function as a gauge of anthropogenic global warming, an imperiled storehouse of resources, a fast disappearing archive of climatic and cultural history, and a glacio-archaeological find spot, place of remembrance, and metaphor of memory.

A counterpart to Delta. The Perils, Profits and Politics of Water in South and Southeast Asia (1991–1995) and based on the predecessor project Ice Age Our Age. Ballads and Enquiries Concerning the Last Glacial Maximum (2012), the work was accomplished in collaboration with representatives of various institutes of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) and of the University of Bern.

From the narrative of travels to some glaciers in Pakistan, Peru, Switzerland and Uganda.
Mt. Luigi di Savoia and Mt. Stanley. Rwenzori Mountains. Uganda. 6-15 November 2015.
A sequence of stills from videos by Miriam Maina, including photographs.


While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey
Thames & Hudson, London 2017
Afterword by the author
209 photographs and illustrations
232pp (with 12 gatefolds)

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Documentary film

Beyond the Obvious
Daniel Schwartz

A portrait, placing the photographer’s glacier odyssey for the book and exhibition While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey in the context of his endeavours spanning more than three decades.

69 min
Director Vadim Jendreyko
Screenplay Frank Vorpahl & Vadim Jendreyko
Producer Gabriela Bussmann
In co-production with Sternstunde-Kunst, SRF (Swiss Public TV)
In association with Mira Film
Release January 2018

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Exhibition 2018-2019

While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey
Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur
10 November 2018–17 February 2019

Explore views: Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur 2018

Exhibition cycle 2016–2018

de glacierum natura
(A selection of works for While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey)
USM Showrooms in Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Munich, Paris, New York, Stuttgart and Tokyo, as well as Kunstraum Medici, Solothurn (25 January – 31 March 2018)
de glacierum natura
Pamphlet in English, French, German and Japanese with fourteen photographs, Münsingen, 2016

Explore views Kunstraum Medici
Explore selected USM Showrooms views
Explore all USM showrooms views

En Marche
Explore view: Le Pénitencier, Sion 2017–2018

Past exhibitions

theatrum Alpinum
(A selection of new works for While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey)
Explore views: Kunstraum Medici, Solothurn 2015
Ice Age Our Age. Ballads and Enquiries Concerning the Last Glacial Maximum
(Predecessor project to While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey)
Explore views: Kunsthaus Langenthal, Langenthal 2012
Ice Age Our Age. Ballads and Enquiries Concerning the Last Glacial Maximum
Set of 10 postcards in silk-screen print.


»Daniel Schwartz lässt uns in erdgeschichtliche Dimensionen schauen. Der Mensch ist darin lediglich eine Episode. Er kam und wird wieder verschwinden. Mit dem Klimawandel beschleunigt er lediglich, was ihm ohnehin bevorsteht. Nichts davon sagt Daniel Schwartz in seinen Bildern. Aber es ist eingesickert in den doppelten Boden, der die künstlerische Verfremdung des Blicks entstehen lässt. Dass Schönheit die Sinne verwirrt: Wir wussten es, hier aber spüren wir es.«

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zürich, 27. Dezember 2017

»His goal […]  is to “show the repertoire of glaciers / As shapers of the Earth’s surface and indicators of anthropogenic global warming / As vanishing archives of climate history and imperilled storehouses of resources / As archaeological sites and metaphors of memory.” He achieves all this and more, partly through the power of the images themselves, many of which are so highly detailed that they would have benefited from being published at four times the size, but also by the thought-provoking way in which he frequently juxtaposes images and short texts. His work on erratics (boulders stranded by retreating glaciers) in particular, would have looked very much at home in the recent exhibition by Scottish “walking artist” Hamish Fulton at the Fine Art Society in Edinburgh.«

The Scotsman, Edinburg, 20 December 2017

»Der Fotograf Daniel Schwartz kennt die Epopöe des Zerfalls aus der umfassenden Besichtigung der Chinesischen Mauer, als diese noch weitgehend Sperrgebiet war, aber auch aus der Dokumentation über das weltweite Sterben der Gletscher.«

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zürich, 5. Juli 2016

»Gletscherwelt als Zustandsbeschreibung wie Barometer unseres Klimas.«

Grenchner Tagblatt, Grenchen, 12. Juli 2015

»Wie in seiner Arbeit als Autor […] mischt er auch in der Kunst wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse, Reflexionen aktueller Entwicklungen und persönliche Erfahrungen.«

Tages-Anzeiger, Zürich, 8. Januar 2013