Beat Kuert was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1946, today he lives and works in Arzo (Ticino).
Knowing that you can create a complex work with only two fundamental elements is the most fascinating thing I can imagine. Working digitally is a kind of philosophy for me.
It means creating with the binary language of 0 and 1. Two complementary values that may be interpreted in multiple ways like “on and off”, “yes and no”, but also as “yin and yang”, “to be or not to be”, Isis and Osiris and so on. Beat Kuert
He made his first experimental movies while still in school, he later learned the craft of filmmaking while working for Turnus Film.
After an extended stay in Latin America, he worked for the cultural department of the Swiss television and gained experiences in the theatre. He finally made his first feature film in 1974 and achieved great success in the field of experiment films, then he devoted himself to the expression of his feelings about existence and life through the form of video art. In 2000, Beat Kuert started to try the means of photography to interpret his views. He believes that “picture is the motion of the highest level”.
Movies like ‘Schilten’, ‘Martha Dubronski’, ‘Deshima’, ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ and ‘Pi-errotische Beziehungen’ cemented his name as innovative and many-sided director.
Starting in 1996 he made several documentaries, many of them about famous architects like Jean Nouvel, Herzog & deMeuron, Mario Botta, Max Dudler and Luigi Snozzi.
He used to teach Visual Communication at the professional University (SUPSI) in Lugano and the film school ZELIG in Bolzano. Beat Kuert founded the art-collective dust&scratches in 2005 to produce performances, videoart and music along with his photographic work.
He has exhibited in many international venues and won several awards. Since 2008, Beat Kuert has completed various projects in China. He is also an advisor to ‘Yuanfen-Flow’ in Beijing, a venture which seeks to promote the exchange of ideas between China and the rest of the world.
There are few artists who have the vision or talent to show the full spectrum of human beings: from the sensual and the erotic, to the duality of being both the creator and the destroyer. Beat Kuert is one of the artists with the vision and talent to undertake such an endeavor and to do so with a unique mastery of color, form, movement and myth.
Beat Kuert is, himself, quite reticent to offer too much in terms of guidance about what the viewer should think. He intentionally doesn’t provide long explanations about what’s inspired the work. He doesn’t need to. Each piece not only speaks for itself, it speaks personally to each viewer. Think whatever you want – and Beat’s work will make you think. But when you’re able to pull yourself away, you will find that the work has evoked in you a myriad of emotional responses that will stay with you for a very long time.
“In my works, I’ve blurred the border lines between frames, opened them and finally eliminated borders altogether. The content of the pictures spills out, forming a chaotic entanglement which appears to be animated by an invisible force.
The dissolution of order through the removal of borders is a gratifying and liberating act. Working toward chaos has a soothing effect on me - it is somewhat like returning home.
The pictures by Beat Kuert are stills of videos or pictures from his video camera, laptop, mobile phone or digital camera. After being re-processed by the artist, these raw pictures display an ambiguous and distorted effect. The prime colors of red and yellow and white combined with the conflict between black and white as well as the contortion of human bodies, give the picture a dangerous tension. The contortion and overlapping of bodies express the piquancy of death and the arrival of hope after breaking everything. In this amazing process of transformation, Beat Kuert connects life with death, as well as the inevitability of desire, vanity and existence.
Kuert’s work continues in the ‘10s with important installations in Personal Structures / Crossing Borders, collateral events of the Venice’s Biennale d’Arte in which, apart from analyzing the themes already abundantly explored in the previous decades, he approaches new thematic cores like the ones of hallucination and desire. In 2015 he presents FaultLine / TimeLine at Bembo Palace and in 2017, in the same location, Good Morning Darkness. In November of the same year he is protagonist of the event “Processualità ideative e attuative di un libro d’artista” held in Milan’s National Braidense Library during which he presents the book created by Eyemazing Susan “Beat Me”, A Pictorial Requiem.
In 2018 works by Beat Kuert were shown in the "MIA Proposal" section of the Milan Photo Fair and The “Maimeri Foundation” presented a large number of his works in a solo show at the "MAC" in Milan.
Books and Catalogues
- Furor Corporis, catalogue published by Fondazione Maimeri 2018 with essays by Angelo Crespi and Gianni Maimeri
- Beat Me, a Pictorial Requiem - Published by EYEMAZING Editions, 2017
- Et Sic in Infinitum, published for the 9th Florence Biennale, 2013 with an essay by Rolando Bellini and Elisabetta Calcaterra
- Wunderkammer, catalogue produced and distributed byM&C Saatchi and dust&scratches, with essays by Enzo Di Martino. Published for the solo exhibition Wunderkammer at M&C Saatchi Gallery, Shanghai, 2012
- Gaia – Beat Kuert, art-book produced and distributed by QTI, Fotografi della Svizzera Italiana series, curated and edited by Adriano Heitmann, 2010
- Kan – Longing for Rain, catalogue produced and distributed by ICON Media, edited by Na Risong, and with an essay by Gu Zheng and Wu Hong, 2010
- Destroyed Lines, catalogue produced and distributed by dust&scratches, edited by David Ben Kay and Laetitia Gauden, with an introduction by Zhang Xiatao, Wang Chuunchen, Ellen Pearlman 2010
- Donna Carnivora, catalogue produced and distributed by dust&scratches, with essays by Enzo Di Martino, 2007Selected filmography
as a Director (selected filmograhie)
- Lulla (1966), short film
- Eine Welt wie Barbara (1967), short film
- Ein Erfolg unserer Entwicklungshilfe (1971), documentary
- Mulungu (1974), feature film
- Schilten (verschiedene internationale Auszeichnungen) (1979), based on Schilten by Hermann Burger
- Die Zeit ist böse (1982)
- Pi-errotische Beziehungen (1982)
- Martha Dubronski, (1984)
- Deshima, with screenplay by Adolf Muschg (1986)
- L´Assassina (1989), featuring Maria Sofia Ricci and Margaret Mazzantini
- Der Grossinquisitor, based on a legend from the novel The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1991)
- Hanna & Rocky (1993), featuring and produced by Gardi Hutter
- Am Ende der Zeit (1998)
- Jean Nouvel, Ästhetik des Wunderbaren, portrait of the architect Jean Nouvel (1998)
- Tate Modern, Portrait of the Restored London Art Gallery (2000)
- Herzog & de Meuron (2002)
- Architectour de Suisse-Portraits of Swiss architects (Herzog & de Meuron, Mario Campi, Luigi Snozzi, Ivano Gianola, Moro & Moro, Mario Botta) (2002)
- ICHLIEBEMICH (2003), portrait of the artist Alex Sadkowsky
- La Nuova Scala Portrait of the Opera house "Scala" in Milan restored by Mario Botta (2005)
- Berg&Geist (2004–2014) a serial of 109 Portraits for the television channel 3sat