hélène binet

© Hélène Binet Portrait by Joao Coles
Portrait by João Coles

awards

the ada louise huxtable prize, the architectural review and the architects’ journal, uk, 2019
hundred heroines, the royal photographic society, uk, 2018
julius shulman institute excellence in photography awardjulius shulman institute, usa, 2015
honorary fellowship, royal institute of british architects (riba), uk, 2007
digital elements award, olympus europe foundation science for life, germany, 2003

museum collections

moma, new york, usa
carnegie museum, pittsburgh, usa

biography

hélène binet (switzerland, 1959) has photographed contemporary architecture for thirty-five years and co-operated worldwide with the most renowned architects, including zaha hadid, daniel libeskind, 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 such as alvar aalto, le corbusier, sverre fehn, nicholas hawksmoor, john hejduk, sigurd lewerentz, andrea palladio and dimitris pikionis. she has also directed her attention to landscape photography, wherein she transposes key concerns of her architectural photography.

the depth of knowledge of architectural history is manifest in the way hélène binet portrays her subject matter, and her intimate understanding of each building is evident in the way she conjures up the spirit of the space through light, shadow and texture. her photographs of historic architecture strike a surprising balance. they both capture the quintessence and nuance of the buildings but simultaneously reveal a new perspective for a contemporary audience. her photographs evoke the sculptural quality of the spaces through the contrast between curved and straight surfaces and the interplay of light and shadow.

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hélène binet’s work is constantly included in exhibitions worldwide in the context of photography and architecture. in 2012 hélène binet was commissioned to photograph seven london churches designed by the 18th-century english architect nicholas hawksmoor for the 13th architectural biennale in venice, which was later exhibited in somerset house london in 2013.

from 25 september 2014 until 11 january 2015, hélène binet was part of the significant group exhibition ‚constructing world: photography and architecture in modern age‘ at the barbican art gallery in london.

the wuho gallery (los angeles) opened the‘ fragments of light’ exhibition in spring 2015 to honour her reception of the 2015 julius shulman institute excellence in photography award. the exhibition showcased binet’s most captivating photographs, illustrating the breadth of her work throughout her career.

hélène binet’s works were also displayed in the group exhibition ‘image building – how photography transforms architecture’ (18 march – 17 june 2018) at the parish art museum, ny. the exhibition explored the dynamic relationship between architecture, photography and its viewer by creating a dialogue between the past and present. binet’s work combined both of these elements by portraying historic and contemporary architecture.

the exhibition ‚hélène binet: dialoghi, works from 1988 to 2018‘ at the power station of art museum in shanghai in 2019 featured some brand-new works by hélène binet that depict the chinese garden style of the historic city of suzhou, china. this exhibition was part of the travelling exhibition ‚dialogues‘ shown at the galleria dell’accademia in mendrisio and the ‚bauhaus-archiv museum für gestaltung‘ in berlin throughout 2015. binet’s works displayed featured buildings by john hejduk, le corbusier, peter zumthor and zaha hadid.

in 2020 hélène binet was commissioned by the museum of modern art cologne (makk) to photograph a series about gottfried böhm (1920-2021), a german architect known for his highly sculptural buildings with solid concrete forms. by creating ‚portraits‘ of selected religious buildings he designed, binet reflects and highlights both the sculptural qualities and the structures‘ materiality using light and shadow compositions. this focus enhances the characteristic nature of the buildings while equally producing new visual perspectives to be discovered.

the monumental solo exhibition ‚light lines: the architectural photographs of hélène binet‘ at the royal academy of arts in london, october 2021 to january 2022, featured around 90 photography spanning projects across héléne binet’s career, focusing on her ability to capture the essential elements of architecture.

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