Eva Presenhuber

Beat Streuli

13 Jan - 24 Feb 2007


Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Swiss native Beat Streuli, featuring recent works.

Beat Streuli is one of the internationally leading exponents of contemporary photography. Commuting between Düsseldorf and Brussels, the artist focuses his camera mainly on the inhabitants of the world’s large cities, but also, to an increasing extent, on the population of smaller urban centers: London, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Osaka, Los Angeles, as well as Krakau, Tel Aviv, and Athens, just to mention a few. For the last 15 years, he has been following the faces and gestures of city dwellers, capturing them with a photo or video camera in a mostly glaring, yet warm sunlight. Since Streuli uses a telephoto lens, the people that he portrays are not aware of their role as subjects, which is why in his artistic work, they eventually appear in the well-known state of absent-mindedness, self-absorption, and thoughtfulness. Due to the significant differences in sharpness between fore- and background, the subjects are revealed in minute detail: The hair is shiny, the skin shimmers, accessories such as sunglassesand cellular phones become identity-building mass utensils.
Within these metropolises, Streuli’s eye observes not only passers-by of all ages and origins, but also means of transportation, advertisements, pieces of architecture, and urban furnishings. In his new four-part video work, he has filmed people waiting for the bus at the Porte de Flandre station in Brussels. The videos are structured by two momenta of motion: the one formed by the people themselves and the one on the horizontal line, caused by the people and cars passing by. Together with the background, Streuli’s work creates an urban tissue of movement and rest, entirely displayed in slow motion. The four videos will be presented on four monitors placed on pedestals.
Also on view will be still pictures of larger-than-life portraits which cover the walls of the exhibition room like wallpapers. With this form of presentation, Streuli refers to large billboards that advertize for products in cities while, at the same time, confronting the viewer with the intimacy of the portraits of anonymous city dwellers. This exhibition will be introduced by four photographs which are conventionally framed in wood.
As Streuli’s central motif is the urban environment with its inhabitants, he penetrates the fields of both documentary photography and, with its excessive aesthetic sense, advertising. The positioning of this concept within the context of art may be regarded as an independent, compelling, and radical step, given that for a long time, photography has only been accepted as an artistic discipline within the boundaries of conceptual art. The rejection of both documentarism and conceptualism leads to a form of aesthetics that one could describe as the ‘glamour of the usual’, a striking example of which can be seen in Streuli’s newest exhibition.
Beat Streuli, born in Switzerland in 1957, is living in Brussels and Düsseldorf. His photographs, videos and window installations have been featured at museums and galleries all around the world. Some of his permanent installations can be found at the Lufthansa Aviation Center at Frankfurt Airport, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Triemli Hospital in Zurich, in the Style Company Building in Osaka, and in the Immigration Hall of Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas.

Tags: Beat Streuli