Catalogue produced and distributed by dust&scratches
Essay by Enzo Di Martino
Beat Kuert’s images are born from the performances by dust&scratches; they lose their physical aspects and the realism of the performance from which they originate – some sort of body art – and acquire a significance that reveals the same artificiality as painting and sculpture. They undergo the very same alchemical transformation.
His symbolical figures represent a living existence that the artist perceives as form/work of art. It is therefore obvious that Beat Kuert uses a sort of artifice in his work, replacing the “performance”, or the direct display of the event, with the video record of the observed event. Through this artifice, it gains a diverse legibility, and a different and transfigured significance….
His photographs are stills from his videos, in which the most representative image is stopped and isolated, perhaps to allow a deeper and more elaborate reading. Kuert employes the metamorphic abilities of the video image utilizing the possibility of intervening on the electronic “texture” of the figures through the infinite fragmentation of pixels and the possibilities of the electronic colour in a strongly symbolical and metaphoric manner, proclaiming its intrinsic evocative qualities….
Beat Kuert is the video artist closest to the manner of painting, voiding the “linguistic minimalism” typical of the video art of the 60s and moving towards a sort of “pictorial baroque-like” expression made of the strong ignition of colours, accentuated by interventions on the images done with a computer. The “battle for the image” fought in the past through the means of painting happens here between the natural coldness of the electronic means and the warm gesture of the spreading of colour, also electronic. With a procedure that all figurative art has in common, Kuert thereby affirms a more meaningful “intelligence of the reality.
The alchemy of art
“It has been written that the creative process leading to an artwork is an actual artifice since it strives to alter the means and the materials of its expression. It is a process of idealization and realization, which aims to transform the perceivable aspect of matter, but also aims to spark a sense of wonder and amazement by displaying an image that reveals different and unsuspected meanings beyond simple appearances. Accordingly, art is in many ways related to alchemy and magic.
Nowadays, there is much talk about digital interactive art and how it can be “manipulated” formally and figuratively by the audience. In this context, Beat Kuert’s video and photographic works – definitions he considers inadequate and misleading – are clearly a sort of “digital alchemy”. He could be a shaman of art, who is well aware that over the centuries a Renaissance altar has led a historical discourse with many devotees, often protecting and comforting them and – according to some – even producing miraculous events.
Perhaps this is why the works of Beat Kuert – although they have been created with tools from the worlds of cinema, photography and computers – always retain a pronounced and unmistakable pictorial connotation. They persistently reveal the unconditional will to be “works made by art.”
From the catalogue essay by Enzo di Martino