On arrival to the opening of the Beat Streuli exhibition in Birmingham tonight I was immediately encompassed by the all to familiar urban world of Streuli’s work. A mixture of photography, video and sound by the artist is on display at the Ikon Gallery, which highlights themes within our modern day cultures from all over the world. The use of sounds from busy city streets add to the sensation of being plunged into the environments of the photographs and videos on display.
The way the photographs have been displayed, side by side with the edge of the frame becoming difficult to spot, means you can easily become lost in this series and have quite a fluid viewing experience. Immersed into a world of the modern day, it becomes near impossible to distinguish between different cities, the photographs look as if they could have been taken within one. The focus is so intensely on the subject that the environment becomes unrecognisable. This is a way Streuli communicates how culturally diverse our urban environments are, by placing varying cultures into what looks like a single environment.
This exhibition also highlights other themes within our modern urban culture such as consumerism. Logos, technology and clothing all became a primary focus within some of the photographs, some of the images appearing quite abstract meaning the branding was not clear but still recognisable. For me it made me more aware of just how well integrated these material objects have become within our lives.
As I moved throughout the exhibition what really stood out to me was a pair of chunky looking televisions from the 90’s. Playing on them was a series of videos recorded of people during the 90’s. It was interesting to see just how quickly technology such as these televisions has become outdated, especially when compared to another pair of recently recorded looking videos played on a modern t.v. The evolution of Streulis work as well as our culture has been mimicked by the technology it has been displayed on. To find out more about this exhibition click here for the Ikon gallery website.