Artist Talk: Hélène Binet
Art Hall B1
Artist Talk: Hélène Binet
“Hélène Binet has emerged as one of the leading architectural photographers in the world. Every time Hélène Binet takes a photograph, she exposes architecture’s achievements, strength, pathos and fragility.” (Daniel Libeskind)
Representation of space with photography is an inherently impossible task. This undertaking is comparable to the path of a traveller who seeks to grasp the horizon. The line of the horizon is intangible and unattainable just as an image can never completely depict a space.
Photography is a selective view ‘from somewhere’. This selection occurs by laying out four perpendicular segments on your vision of space. This allows observations to be specific and new relationships to emerge from the newly confined photographic space. This happens between forms, geometries, light, textures and void.
As Aristotle described, we can hear better in darkness. Moreover, the exclusivity of photography is reductive, as it is an instrument of translation between the multisensorial experience of space and purely two-dimensional expressions. For this reason I find it necessary to concentrate on details of a space, and to work in black and white. This more silent and abstract image of space allows me to go back to some of the original feelings of the space and perhaps also to the first concept of the architect before building the building.
Architecture, in regards to experience, is one of the most complex forms of art. John Hejduk once said that by entering a building we are digested by it. In regards to this, I view my task of photographing architecture as being to uncover and capture some of the enzymes that are involved in this process, drawing upon the ones which are effective in photography.
As we observe a space we engage in an exchange between the property of that place and our world of images. Similarly, I invite the viewer of my photographs to enter the space and to lay their own imaginary world on my photography. For this reason I rarely include people in my photographs of space by inviting you to be part of the space.
In this lecture I will show a selection of photographs where I am looking at transitional space and how this in between condition can be expressed bidimensionally; how these spaces are a form of passage or ritual in between different spaces before achieving a purpose: from apprentice to a form of knowledge, between sacred and non sacred, as in the Beyongsan Seowon School.
About the Artist
Hélène Binet was born in 1959 in Sorengo and is of both Swiss and French back- ground. She currently lives in London with her husband Raoul Bunschoten. She studied photography at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Rome, where she grew up, and soon developed an interest in architetural photography. Over a period of twenty-ﬁve years Hélène Binet has photographed both contem- porary and historical architecture. Her body of work includes photos of architects such as: Raoul Bunschoten, Caruso St John, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Studio Mumbai, Peter Zumthor and many others. While following the work of contemporary architects – often from construction through completion – Hélène Binet has also photographed the works of past architects as Alvar Aalto, Geoﬀrey Bawa, Le Corbusier, Sverre Fehn, Nicholas Hawksmoor, John Hejduk, Sigurd Lewerentz, Andrea Palladio Dimitris Pikionis, Sergio Musmeci and Hans Van der Laan. More recently, Hélène Binet has started to direct her attention to landscape pho- tography, wherein she transposes key concerns of her architectural photography. Hélène Binet’s work has been published in a wide range of books, and is shown in both national and international exhibitions. The ﬁrst monograph entirely dedicated to her work, Composing Space, was published by PHAIDON (London/New York) in 2012. She is currently working in South Korea where she is looking at historical buildings, but she also has been invited by the BBL to photograph the new Swiss Embassy in Seoul by the architect Burckhardt+Partner. The PSA in Shanghai will host a major retrospective of her work in Spring 2019. Hélène Binet is an advocate of analogue photography and therefore she exclusively works with ﬁlm.