BEAT STREULI - Brussels 05/06
25 November 2006 - 27 January 2007
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 2 -7 pm and on appointment
Opening Friday 24 November 2006 6 > 9 pm
Erna Hecey Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs and videos by Beat Streuli featuring the city of Brussels and its inhabitants.
For more than 15 years Swiss-born Streuli has trained his camera on the modern city dweller: chance passersby, faces in the crowd, details of hairstyle and clothing, a fragile or stern or gregarious look. His photographic and video works examine the denizens of various urban centers, from New York and Krakow to Tokyo and Tel Aviv, plucking visages and gestures from the flow of street life. Though he captures his subjects unawares, in the midst of their daily activities, it would be a mistake to consider Streuli's metropolitan portraits as simply natural, genuine, or purely spontaneous. On the contrary, his images have a certain recognizable look, and bear the mark of artistic selection. His work plays on a whole series of contradictions between the natural and the stylized, documentary and fiction, publicity and privacy, human dignity and mass alienation, glamorized poses and the cruelty of light.
The series move between showing the singularity of the individual (and the uniqueness of different cities) and testifying to the endless repetition of the same in our globalized, late capitalist world. Though often connected with that nineteenth century café-frequenting aesthete le flâneur, the 'gentleman stroller of the streets' searching for the extraordinary in the everyday, the flash of the eternal in the ephemeral, Streuli's art is decidedly less romantic than any Baudelairean reverie. Its flatness and seriality recall the aesthetics of fashion photography, a kind of Juergen Tellerish take on city crowds, while at the same time evoking the specter of anonymous surveillance that increasingly pervades urban space. The remarkable regularity of Streuli's artistic practice, covering city after city, is further reminiscent of the famous architectural studies of Bernd and Hilla Becher.
The show at Erna Hecey will feature four videos shot at the Porte de Flandre, in front of the Tram 18 stop, showing people waiting to board public transportation. Four large-scale photographs printed on see-through adhesive film cover the front windows of the gallery, and a selection of photographs are displayed in the back. The monumental window images change subtly according to the outside lighting, creating a dynamic interplay with the surrounding architecture. Streuli's portraits of Brussels' street life, showing people of various cultures and religions, are inescapably political. However, their political significance resides less in any specific message or program than in giving visibility to the street, creating a 'psychogeography' (to use an old Situationist term) of the Brussels landscape.
Solo shows (selection since 2000): 2006 Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Galerie Wilma Tolksdorf, Berlin; Murray Guy, New York; Dogenhaus Galerie, Leipzig; University of Massachusetts, University Gallery, Amherst. 2004 Jablonka Galerie, Cologne; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles. 2003 Galerie Erna Hécey, Luxembourg. 2002 Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Hauser & Wirth & Presenhuber, Zurich. 2000 Stedelijk Museum with Gabriele Basilico, Amsterdam.
Group shows (selection since 2000): 2006 Tate Modern, London. 2005 Sharjah Biennale, Sharjah; Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama; Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig. 2004 Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela; Kunstmuseum, Berne. 2003 Outlook, Athens; International Center of Photography, New York. 2002 Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; Kunstmuseum Ehrenhof, Dusseldorf. 2001 Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. 2000 Fondation Cartier, Paris; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a.M.; Bruxelles 2000, Brussels; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
A new Artist's Book by Beat Streuli:
32 pages, b/w, 28 x 42 cm
The publication consists of a series of street portraits taken near Bruxelles Midi, Brussels main train station. As is typical with Streuli's approach in both photography and video, the photographs in this publication are taken using a telephoto lens, visually isolating the individuals within their surroundings. This form of photographic extraction results in street portraits of unwitting protagonists; their conceptual exile from the crowd simultaneously asserting their distinctiveness and anonymity within the social multitude. Presented as a large-format book, in which a cadenced encounter of 25 of these portrait images is created through the irregular insertion of blank pages and spreads, the full-bleed printing is uninterrupted by textual explanation or contextualization. The publication has been realized by Atopia Projects, Amherst, in collaboration with Beat Streuli and University Gallery, University of Massachusetts Amherst; with support from Murray Guy, New York, and Erna Hecey Gallery, Brussels.
Twenty copies are released with an original, signed photograph by Beat Streuli. Image 268 x 380 mm, Paper 280 x 396 mm Archival inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl Price: 500 €(unframed)
Beat Streuli participates in:
Being in Brussels
28 November - 20 January 2007
Group show with Orla Barry (Ireland), Pierre Bismuth (France), Jota Castro (Peru), Peter Downsbrough (USA), Dora Garcia (Spain), Kendell Geers (South Africa), Agnès Geoffray (France), Aglaia Konrad (Austria), Shelbatra Jashari (Kosovo), Gabriel Lester (Netherlands), Jimmy Robert (Guadeloupe), Charlemagne Palestine (USA) and Beat Streuli (Switzerland).