Swiss artist Beat Streuli (born 1957) is one of the best-known representatives of contemporary photography on the international scene. Based in Düsseldorf, Streuli’s workplace is the great metropolises of London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo. Streuli’s photographs, slide projections, video work and work in public spaces show the people who bring life to these urban habitats: passers-by – people of all ages and origins. By making photographs that emphasize the individual in this great flow of humankind, Streuli comes closer to his subjects to create a portrait of the individual in the mass.
In his latest individual exhibition at Galerie Hauser & Wirth & Presenhuber, Streuli presents his three-part video projection Broadway/Prince Street 04-01, 2001-2002. From the street corner named in the title, Streuli filmed people passing by or waiting to cross the street. What makes Broadway/Prince Street 04-01 different from Streuli’s earlier video works is the way he has given it more of the character of a film. Filmed entirely in slow motion, with more and only brief color sequences, the work is mostly in black and white. Most of the work is silent, but there are a few moments of street noise. The length of the work varies around 20 minutes per projection and loop, each time giving a new, chance combination of film sequences. Broadway/Prince Street 04-01, 2001-2002, was shown this summer at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington.
In addition to this video work, the exhibition features a selection of five large-format photographs created in October 2001 on the corner of Broadway and Eighth Street. Individual people, raised out of the anonymity of the crowd, are shown before an almost black background, photographed at the moment they step into the harsh, late-autumn light. These works continue Streuli’s “long-term” research into New York and urban life in general.
NYC 01 and NYC 02 are the third part of the exhibition. These are digital slide shows presented via DVD on two monitors: slow fades of digital close-ups of passers-by climbing the stairs of the subway at Astor Place. The digital works NYC 01 and NYC 02 constitute a further development of Streuli’s earlier slide shows, merging images to form a loop and choreographing them like a film.