BEATRICE HELG, born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1956, initially studied cello at the Geneva Music Conservatory before pursuing studies in photography at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland and the Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara, California; and then at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. In 1979, she took part in the organization of Venezia ‘79 – la Fotografia in Venice. In 1981-1982, she worked in the ICP exhibition department in New York.
Béatrice Helg now lives and works in Geneva.
Her work has been exhibited widely within Europe and the United States, with more than 65 solo exhibitions including: an exhibition at the Palazzo Fortuny, Venice; the Museum Tinguely, Basel; The IVAM – Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain; Rencontres d’Arles and Paris Photo, France; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; at the Jan Krugier Gallery, Geneva and New York, Martin Summers Fine Art, London; Galerie Thessa Herold, Paris and Galerie Edwynn Houk, Zurich.
Helg’s work is held in numerous public and private collections such as the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne; the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; the International Center of Photography, New York; Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla Collection of Photography, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
THE WORK of Swiss artist Béatrice Helg holds a unique place within the tradition of staged and constructed photography, first developed in the 1980s. Indeed her photographs are a far cry from hyperrealist or narrative pictures, from artificial reconstructions of scenes of everyday life; instead, her work features abstract forms as well as luminous worlds.
For Orthodox believers, the icon is a window on the invisible. And this is the image that comes to mind when we consider Béatrice Helg’s abstract spaces and its vibrant, otherworldly silence. Right from her early works, the artist has long succeeded in combining matter and theatre, or reality and vision. With her great passion for architecture, scenography and opera, influenced by the Russian avant-garde and constructivism, Helg creates monumental spaces in which sculpture, painting, environment, staging and most of all light are constantly interwoven.
More than anything else, light is the real material without which her work would not exist. Light is the ultimate medium that makes revelation possible. Beatrice Helg’s tableaux seem to be haunted by the contradiction between light and darkness, ultimately giving way to infinity, to a quest for the absolute, or rather to a boundless search for inner mystery.