This book is the most important monograph devoted to the Swiss artist-photographer Béatrice Helg. It offers a survey of her work from the past twenty-five years, and is accompanied by a poem dedication by Robert Wilson, critical essays by Serge Linarès and Philippe Piguet, and a poem by Sylviane Dupuis. Helg’s œuvre has a singular position within the photographic tradition of “constructed images.” Remote from hyperrealist or narrative imagery, her work displays abstract forms and luminous worlds. Drawing on a passion for music and a marked sensitivity to notions of space and time, to architecture, and to the staging of plays and operas, the artist creates monumental spaces in which sculpture, painting, installation, and light interact. As poetic as they are spiritual, her photographs show strangely beautiful universes of shadow and of light. Her work opens onto an infinity — onto a quest for the absolute or a search for inner mystery.
Béatrice Helg was born in Geneva in 1956. After studying the cello, she studied photography in the United States and worked in the Exhibitions Department of the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. From the onset, Helg developed a personal signature for her uses of space, light, and matter, and it has been given international recognition. More than sixty-five solo exhibitions have been devoted to her oeuvre in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Among these are shows at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, at the Museum Tinguely in Basel, at the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM) in Valencia, at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, at Paris Photo, and at the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles.
Robert Wilson is among the world’s foremost theater and visual artists. His works for the stage unconventionally integrate a wide variety of artistic media, including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music, and text. In 1970, Wilson created Deafman Glance, his first signature work. With Philip Glass he wrote the seminal opera Einstein on the Beach (1976). He is best known for his collaborations with writers and musicians: Heiner Müller, William Burroughs, and Lou Reed. Wilson’s productions and innovative uses of time, light, and space on stage have won the acclaim of audiences and critics internationally. Wilson has been honored with a number of awards for excellence, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale, and an Olivier Award. Wilson is the founder and Artistic Director of The Watermill Center, a laboratory for the arts in Water Mill, New York.
Serge Linarès is a professor of twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University (Paris 3). As a Jean Cocteau specialist, he was the editor of Cocteau’s collected novels (Œuvres romanesques complètes) in the “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade” series in 2006. He has also written two studies about the writer and artist: Jean Cocteau: le grave et l’aigu (1999) and Cocteau: La ligne d’un style (2000). Interested in the relationships between literature and art, he has published Écrivains artistes: La tentation plastique (XXe et XXIe siècle) (2010), Fenosa, la sculpture et les lettres (2011), and Picasso et les écrivains (2013). His research on the spatialization of poetic texts has recently led to the publication of his Poésie en partage: Sur Pierre Reverdy et André du Bouchet (2018).
Philippe Piguet is a historian, art critic, and independent curator of exhibitions. He has been responsible for organizing exhibitions at the Chapelle-Espace d’art contemporain, in Thonon-les-Bains, since 2008, and is the artistic director of the Normandie Impressionniste Festival for 2020. He has contributed regularly to the review Art Absolument since 2002 and occasionally to artpress.
Sylviane Dupuis is a Swiss poet, playwright, essayist, and critic. She was a lecturer in Swiss francophone literature in the Modern French Department of the University of Geneva between 2004 and 2018. Her many publications comprise seven books of poetry, including Creuser la nuit (winner of the C.F. Ramuz Poetry Prize in 1986), and five plays, including La Seconde Chute (Zoé, 1993), translated into seven languages, and Les Enfers ventriloques (winner of the Prize awarded in 2004 by the Journées de Lyon des Auteurs de théâtre). Her most recent books are Qu’est-ce que l’art ? 33 propositions (Zoé, 2013) and Géométrie de l’illimité / Poème de la méthode (“Poche Poésie,” Empreintes, 2019).