A native of Prague, Fahrni’s family moved to Germany. After the suicide of his father and his mother’s death, Hans Fahrni was raised by his brother. At a very young age, he had two passions : the flute and chess. In 1916, suffering from psychosis, he was hospitalized for the first time at the Waldau. His mental health improved and Fahrni left the hospital and moved to Bern. Committed once more, he continued to write about chess for newspapers and international magazines. In 1921, his doctors diagnosed a "catatonic schizophrenia". He spent the rest of his life between the Waldau hospital and chess tournaments.
In 1921, Fahrni began to draw. He developed a personal technique of collage, which involved cutting newspaper pictures of women he put in a totally different environment. His drawings in colour pencil emanate a strange atmosphere, a combination of provocative eroticism and dreamlike fairy tale.
SEE ALSO :
Beretti, Michel, and Armin Heusser. Der letzte Kontinent. Bericht einer Reise zwischen Kunst und Wahn. Ein Bilder- und Lesebuch mit Materialien aus dem Waldau-Archiv. Zurich : Limmat, 1997.