July 11, 2008 - Museum of Contemporary Arts, Grand-Hornu - Beat Streuli
July 11, 2008

Beat Streuli

Beat Streuli, Guangzhou/Cairo/Sao Paulo 08
dans la salle pont du MAC’s, 2008
papier peint/impressions jet d’encre, 520×4440 cm
Copyright: Courtesy: Beat Streuli et Galerie Erna Hécey, Bruxelles

Beat Streuli Expo
29/06/08 – 19/10/08


Starting on 29 June, the Museum of the Contemporary Arts of the Grand-Hornu will host the artist in its halls for a major monographic exhibition.

Since 1988, Beat Streuli has been photographing cities, city streets and the people who populate them. He uses a telephoto lens, which allows him to remain at a distance from his subjects and to catch them without their knowledge, and gives these people a look that is purely “photographic”, not idealised, without pathos. His gaze is objective, and takes life today in the great metropolitan areas into account, thus revealing its multiculturalism, for example.

For Beat Streuli, “the photographic instant approaches automatic writing”. For him it is a matter of “working without intentions”. When making a shot, he tries to remain as open as possible in order to photograph the right moment, without any control over the staging. Although he feels that his work is continuous with the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher and the new German objectivity, he nonetheless asserts a major difference from them by establishing less distance between the subject and himself. Beat Streuli tries to “construct situations where the viewer can develop a physical relationship with what is around him. He tries to give people the possibility of entering into his head, of seeing through his eyes and thus of going beyond this border between himself and the other”. The city is always present in the background, like a framework that accommodates these bodies. He sees it as a “laboratory” whose setting, always “out of focus”, highlights the person photographed anonymously in the crowd. After the camera shots, Beat Streuli continues his work by selecting from among numerous shots the ones that he will keep.

The presentation of the images is also essential for the artist. He is interested in the dialogue that he can create between his photographs and the place where they are exhibited. For example, he has posted photos in the advertising spaces of certain bus stops without any explanations concerning them. He has incorporated others into different contemporary architecture projects.

For the exhibition at the Mac’s, he thought through the layout of his work as a function of the specific features of the premises in order to create a route through different types of spaces and atmospheres. He responded to the monumental nature of the square hall with three simultaneous projections nine metres wide by six metres high, with the length of the hall bridge with a wallpaper covering the surface of a wall consisting of a patchwork of photographs that invite the viewer to travel the wall with a look as if in a tracking shot. For other halls with a more traditional morphology, he installs large format photos that recall painting, or wallpaper like a fresco, the people life-sized, in movement, a dance. Each hall is pervaded with a different climate and presents a different technique; Beat Streuli goes from photography to video, from one wallpaper to the next.

The exhibition, devised in close cooperation with the artist, is not a retrospective. It exhibits recent works, dating from a few years ago at the most. These works evoke human beings in the city: Brussels, where the artist lives today and to which he dedicates several rooms, and then the megalopolises to which he travels, such as Cairo, Sao Paulo and Guangzhou in the delta of the Pearl River in China.

Beat Streuli was born in Altdorf, Switzerland in 1957. He lives in Zurich, Dusseldorf and Brussels. He studied painting in Basle and in Zurich.

The MAC’s identity sheet

Laurent Busine

Site of the Grand-Hornu
Rue Sainte-Louise 82
BE-7301 Hornu (near Mons)
Tel.: +32(0)65/65.21.21
Fax: +32(0)65/61.38.91
E-mail: info.macs@grand-hornu.be

Opening hours:
Every day from 10 to 18.00,
except Mondays, 25/12 and 01/01.

Museum of Contemporary Arts

Department of Communication

Site of the Grand-Hornu
Rue Sainte-Louise 82
BE-7301 Hornu

Dominique Cominotto
Assistant to the management

Telephone: 00.32 (0)
Fax: 00.32 (0)
E-mail: communication@grand-hornu.be

Assisted by:
Maïté Vanneste
Telephone: 00.32 (0)
E-mail: maite.vanneste@grand-hornu.be

Press contact:
Hélène van den Wildenberg
Caracas Public Relations
Telephone: 00.32 (0)4. 349.14.41
Mobile Phone: 00.32 (0)495.22.07.92
E-mail: hvdw@caracascom.com


With the support of the Pro Helvétia Foundation

Museum of Contemporary Arts, Grand-Hornu

Museum of Contemporary Arts, Grand-Hornu
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