THOMAS KNEUBÜHLER

Born in Solothurn, Switzerland, Thomas Kneubühler has been living in Canada since 2000. In 2003, he completed a Master's degree in Studio Arts at Concordia University, Montréal. His work often deals with social issues and how technology is affecting people's lives. It also questions the blurry borders between private and public spaces, control and surveillance stakes or even the stunning beauty, yet dehumanizing, of urban landscapes. His work has been presented in many exhibitions in both Europe (Canadian cultural centre in Paris, or the Kunstmuseum in Solothurn, Switzerland) and North America, most recently at the Québec Triennial 2011 at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. In 2011, he was awarded the Pratt & Whitney Canada Prize of the Conseil des arts de Montréal. Kneubühler’s works can be found in the heart of many collections such as the Kunstkredit from Basel, the Canada Council Art Bank and the the Canada International Commerce ones.


"Whether it is the ambiguous boundaries of public and private space, the all-pervasive spectre of security surveillance or even the radiant, if dehumanizing, beauty of cityscapes, Kneubühler's practice tellingly identifies the co-existing insecurities, uncertainties and subtle pleasures embedded in the structures of modern life." 

 

- Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art Magazine

UNDER CURRENTS
Under Currents looks at the hydroelectric installations in Northern Quebec. There are two intersecting axes in this project: first the rivers that flow from east to west, interrupted by hydroelectric power stations; then there is the stream of electricity, flowing from north to south. One transmission line goes all the way to a converter station outside Boston.

These installations are also where the native Cree population and the state-owned energy company Hydro Quebec intersect. If Northern Quebec is traditionally a nomad's land, ironically, in the course of its development, it is the workers from the south that become nomadic: they are flown in for their work shifts and housed in temporary work camps, whereas the native populations displaced by the installation's progress are settled in subdivisions.

ELECTRIC MOUNTAINS
"Kneubühler’s Electric Mountain series commanded attention by capturing the eerie nighttime illuminations of Quebec ski resorts in photos that were both ironically picturesque and seriously documentary. Like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, his photos show a strange, abandoned recreational universe where the lit slopes seem like sign code directed to the stars. Kneubühler’s nocturnes of cold, white artificial illumination tell the tale of a unique kind of landscape that waits for dark to come into its own—both land art for the sports-minded and a meta-image of photography’s indebtedness to light." (Richard Rhodes, Canadian Art Magazine)

When I first came to Canada, I remember driving on the highway passing a mountain full of lights. It looked to me like a surreal landscape, almost like an installation or a land-art project. Later I found out that this mountain was illuminated by 500 000 watts of lights and was used for night skiing. I was stunned. Growing up within a two-hour drive of the Swiss Alps, mountains were for me always a synonym for wilderness – a place hard to access, without the usual amenities.

Years later, I went out on a winter journey in search of these illuminated mountains by traveling all over Québec, equipped with topographic maps, snowshoes and a large format camera. I decided to use the lights of the ski hills for my own purpose: to capture a landscape, which would be otherwise hidden in the dark.

For this project, I invited two artists to collaborate and respond to my work. Steve Bates composed the soundtrack for the video "Switch", where we witness the shut down of a mountain. Geoffrey Jones’ LED panels are part of the installation "Brise Soleil meets Mt. Hortons", an artificial mountain which can’t be found on any map.

With "Electric Mountains", I am interested to see how society deals with technology, and how it affects our lives. It is the first time that I am using the genre of landscape photography - yet the questions I am concerned with remain the same.

OFFICE 2000
Office buildings are only accessible to the people who work in them. They are places of power, and therefore protected by security guards and surveillance cameras. Yet, at night, the inside becomes visible; in many places lights stay turned on overnight, even when no one is working. The buildings start to reveal their secrets and they become vulnerable: the innocuous presence of unmanned computers, the blurred image of a worker who cannot be identified, the inconclusiveness of surveillance.

I photographed these buildings from above in order to transform the ordinary perception from the street and gain entry into the recesses of the building. By printing them in large scale, I invite the viewer to wander through the image and peek into the windows.

Historically photography has been understood as a window to the world. In my photographs there are many windows with multiple narratives. Since they contain no people, the computers become the focal point – machines providing a window to global information.

ACCESS DENIED
Site specific installation, presented during «Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal» in 2007, and in downtown Edmonton in 2009. The portraits of security guards cast an anonymous gaze on closely watched and controlled areas, usually off-limits to the public.

PRIVATE PROPERTY
At the base of all these images is the unseen presence of those who watch - the security personnel whose job it is to monitor this emptiness, the artist who transgresses the codes of private property, and the gallery visitor who acts as witness. Foucault's theories of surveillance have a resonance here; order, visuality and power fall into a natural equation. (Lynn Beavis)

ZONES
In this pixellated zone, the traveller is defined, practically, by a 'smart' luggage trolley hired with a credit card; graphically, by barcodes attached to luggage; vocally, by computer-generated flight announcements; and numerically, by the four-digit PIN which, as the moment of flight approaches, is overlaid by smaller ones, often attached to a letter. So finally, as the hub spins passengers deeper into airspace, the only version they have of themselves is a seat number in an aluminum tube. (David Pascoe)

ABSENCE
Today there is nothing to distinguish - in appearance, at least - the multimedia designer, the medical secretary, and the archivist when they are working at their computers. In «Absence», we encounter the absorbed faces of people whose gaze is lost beyond the frame of the image. With no distinctive signs other than similar poses and attitudes, the bodies of these young workers seem emptied out, completely swallowed up in their activity. (Élène Tremblay)
 

CURRICULUM VITAE

EDUCATION
2003 MFA Studio Arts, Concordia University, Montréal


SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015 Galerie B-312,
2015 Days in Night, Montréal Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal

2015 RIDM - Rencontres internationales du documentaire, Montreal

2014 PhotoforumPasquArt, Bienne
2014 Manif d’art 7, The Québec City Biennial
2013 The Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film, Mill Tower, Durham ON
2011  Gallery 44, Toronto
2010 Centre d'exposition de Val-David
2009 Latitude 53, Edmonton
2009 ProjexMtl Galerie, Montréal
2007 Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal
2006 Axenéo7, Gatineau
2007 ProjexMtl Galerie, Montréal
2005 Platform, Winnipeg
2005 VU - centre de diffusion de la photographie, Québec
2004 Skol - Centre des Arts Actuel, Montréal
2002 Gallery 44, Toronto
2002 Observatoire 4, Montréal

  

 GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2016 «The Triumph of the Therapeutic», Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montréal

2016 «Imagined Futures», curated by Manel Benchabane, Stewart Hall Art Gallery, Point Claire

2015 «Videonale.15», Kunstmuseum Bonn
2015 «Fieldwork», curated by Geneviève Chevalier, Oslo8, Basel

2015 «Werkschau Videoförmig», Kaskadenkondensator, Basel 

2015 «Group 6, curated by Laura Brandon, Diefenbunker Museum, Ottawa
2015 «videocity.bs, curated by Andrea Domesle, Basler Innenstadt, Basel
2014 «Currents, Curtains, Code», curated by Raffael Doerig , Triennale 2014 Valais, Fully VS
2014 «Energy», The Foreman Art Gallery, Sherbrooke
2014 «Home Sweet Home», Dazibao, Montreal
2014 «Landscape», dc3 Art Projects, Edmonton
2014 «Work'PLACE'», curated by Lynda Gammon, Open Space, Victoria BC
2014 «Septentrional», Centre Bang, Chicoutimi
2013 «Streulicht», Ausstellungsraum Klingental, Basel
2013 «Babel», curated by Dorothee Messmer, Kunstmuseum Olten
2013 «View», Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa
2012 «Au milieu de nulle part, curated by Catherine Bédard, Centre culturel canadien, Paris
2012 «Babel», curated by Régis Cotentin, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, and Botanique, Bruxelles
2012 «Swiss Art Awards», organized by the Swiss Ministry of Culture, Messezentrum, Basel
2012 «Under The Radar», curated by Janine Armin, Guided by Invoices Gallery, New York
2012 «Patrick Mikhail Editions», Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa
2012 «Contested Site: Archives and the City», FOFA Gallery, Montréal  
2011 «The Québec Triennial 2011: The Work Ahead of Us», Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal
2011 «Metropolis», Noorderlicht Photofestival, curated by Wim Melis, Der Aa-kerk, Groningen, and
2011 The Museum of Estonian Architecture, Tallinn
2010 «Art Montreal Contemporary», Times Square, Shanghai
2009 «People in the City», curated by Dr. Andrea Domesle, Kunsthalle Palazzo, Liestal
2009 «Ernte 08», Dreispitzhalle, Basel
2009 «Monumental», ProjexMtl Galerie, Montréal
2009 «Preoccupations», curated by Martha Langford, FOFA Gallery, Montréal
2008 «Real Estate», curated by Claudia Spinelli. Kunstmuseum Solothurn, Switzerland
2008 «Rythmes urbains», Travelling exhibition, organized by VOX contemporary image, Centre culturel de Verdun, Montréal
2007 «Flash», Galerie Lilian Rodriguez, Montréal
2007 «Acting Between», curated by Lynn Beavis, FOFA Gallery, Montréal
2007«Visages», ProjexMtl Galerie, Montréal
2007 «Rythmes urbains», Travelling exhibition, organized by VOX contemporary image
2007 Galerie d'art Stewart Hall, Point-Claire; Salle de diffusion Parc-Extension, Mdc Rosemont et Ahuntsic, Galerie Port Maurice, Montréal; Pavillon de l’Entrepôt, Lachine
2004 «Nazar», curated by Wim Melis, De Manege, Leeuwarden, Holland
2004 «VIA Conception», curated by Bernd Künzig, Friedrichsbau, Bühl, Germany
2003 «Regionale 4 - Art contemporain trinationale», FabrikCulture, Hégenheim, France
2002 «Lieux anthropiques - Lugares antrópicos», VOX contemporary photography, curated by Claudine Roger, Centro Cultural Casa Vallarta, Guadalaraja, Mexico
2002 «Persona Grata», curated by Maurice Forget, Galerie d'art Stewart Hall, Montréal,and Arts Sutton, Sutton
2002 «SIX», curated by Penny Cousineau-Levine, Observatoire 4, Montréal
2001 «Life in Real Time: Quick mode», curated by Élène Tremblay, L'espace VOX, Montréal
2000 «Regionale 2000», Ausstellungsraum Klingental, Basel
1999 «Selection '99», Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz, Switzerland
1999 «Zeit», Ausstellungsraum Klingental, Basel
1999 «Welcome home (5)», Kaskadenkondensator, Basel

 

FILM AND VIDEO SCREENINGS

2016 Photophobia Contemporary Moving Image Festival, Hamilton Artists Inc.

2015 POLARIZED! Vision, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

2015 Antimatter [Media Art], Deluge Contemporary Art, Victoria BC

2015 Media City Film Festival, Capitol Theatre, Windsor
2015 Les Rencontres International, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
2015 Solothurner Filmtage, Kino Capitol and Canva, Solothurn
2015 «Landscape Canada», Neues Kino, Basel
2015 Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, Cinematheque, Montréal
2014 Les Rencontres internationales, Gaîté Lyrique, Paris and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
2014 «Canada Off», Centre culturel canadien, Paris
2014 «Ballads», curated by Chloé Dragna, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Madrid
2014 Zoom – Basler Filme im Fokus, kult.kino atelier, Basel
2013 Video Window - Imagination & Urban Space, curated by Bruno Z‘Graggen, OG9 Zürich
2013 «The world as we know As One Piece After Another», curated by Daïchi Saïto, Daïmôn, Gatineau
2012 «Fresh & Sweet: Eye Candies For You», Nagaoka Film Festival, Nagaoka
2011 «Made in Montreal: Recent Films & Videos, CinemaSpace Seagle Centre, Montréal»

  

AWARDS

2012 Swiss Art Award, Ministry of Culture Switzerland
2011 Pratt & Whitney Canada Prize, Conseil des arts de Montréal
2000 Kleinbasler Kunstpreis, Ausstellungsraum Klingental

  

COLLECTIONS

Embassy of Canada, Brussels, Belgium

Mcarthy Tetraullt, Vancouver, Canada

Basler Kunstkredit
Canada Council Art Bank

Canada House London UK

Canton of Solothurn
Cheuvreux Notaires
Cirque du Soleil
Collection prêt d'oeuvres d'art, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec
Concordia University
Conseil des Arts de Montréal
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Kunstsammlung Basel-Landschaft
RBC Royal Bank of Canada
Time Equities Inc. Art-in-Buildings Collection

  

PUBLICATIONS

2016 «Géopolitique». Text by Dominique Allard. esse arts + opinions #86, Montréal

2015 «Videonale 15 - The Call of the Wild». Edited by Tasja Langenbach. Revolver Publishing, Berlin

2015 «Group6». Edited by Laura Brandon. Diefenbunker Museum, Ottawa
2014 «Manifd'art 7: Resistances». Edited by Vicky Chainey Gagnon. Manif d’art, Quebec.
2014 «Home Sweet Home: À propos de l'inquiétude». Les éditions Dazibao, Montréal.
2012 «True North», Text by Pierre Dessureault, Ciel Variable #92, Montreal
2012 «Swiss Art Award 2012: Twisted Realism», Bundesamt für Kultur, Bern
2011 «La Triennale québécoise 2011. Le travail qui nous attend». Text by Marie Fraser,
2011 Lesley Johnstone, Mark Lanctot, François LeTourneux et al. Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal.
2011 «Being There». Text by Simone Jones. Gallery 44, Toronto.
2011 «Metropolis - City Life in the Urban Age». Edited by Ton Broekhuis and Wim Melis.
2011 Stichting Aurora Borealis, Groningen.
2010 «Nordicité». Edited by Pierre Dessureault. Éditions J'ai VU, Quebec City.
2009 «Sur la piste du social». Text by Nicolas Mavrikakis. 
2009 Next Level Magazine #18 (Montreal Issue), London UK.
2009 «Ernte '08». Text by Letizia Schubiger. Kulturelles BL, Liestal.
2009 «Préocupations». Text by Martha Langford. FOFA Gallery, Montréal.
2008«Real Estate». Text by Claudia Spinelli et al. Kunstverein Solothurn.
2007«Deux relèves: ETC 1987 - 2007». Text by Eric Chenet. ETC, Montréal.
2007 «Made in Quebec». View Magazine#8, Bruxelles, Belgium.
2007 «Replaying Narrative». Text by Marie Fraser et al. Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal.
2007 «Rythmes urbains». Text by Claudine Roger. VOX contemporary image, Montréal.
2006 «Private Property / Propriété Privée». Text by Sylvain Campeau. Axenéo7, Gatineau.
2006 «Carte Blanche, Vol. 1: Photography». The Magenta Foundation, Toronto.
2006 «Private Property / Propriété Privée» (artist book). Les éditions Dazibao, Montréal.
2006 «Skol 2004-2005». Text by Sylvain Campeau and Eric Chenet. Centre Skol, Montréal.
2005 «Thomas Kneubühler - Office 2000». Text by Claudine Roger. Centre VU, Québec.
2004 «Nazar - Photographs from the Arab World». Text by Wim Melis. Stichting Aurora Borealis, Groningen, and Aperture, New York.
2003 «Lieux Anthropiques». Text by Claudine Roger. VOX contemporary photography,  Montréal.
2002 «Optica». Text by Jeremy Todd. Gallery 44, Toronto.
2001 «La vie en temps réel: Mode ralenti». Text by Élène Tremblay. L'espace VOX, Montréal.

  

ARTICLES

2016 Campeau, Sylvain. «Land Claim and Day in Night». Ciel Variable No 103.

2015 Kaufmann, Andreas. «Wie man die Dunkelheit in Bild setzt». Solothurner Zeitung, January 28  
2015 Uzel, Jean-Philippe. «L’autochtonie dans l’art actuel québécois. Une question partagée». Globe : revue internationale d’études québécoises, vol. 17, n° 1.

2014 Pritchard, Nick. «The Story behind the pictures: Thomas kneubühler - Electric Mountains». January 28. 

2013 Hoffmann, Annette. «Perspektivische Wahrheiten». Basler Zeitung, April 12.
2013 Bonnet, Frédéric. «Ici et ailleurs». Le Journal des Arts, No 383, January 18.
2013 Desmet, Nathalie. «Au milieu de nulle part». esse arts et opinions, No 78.
2013 Gerig, Karen N. «Am Schnittpunkt zwischen Kunst und Realität». Tageswoche, April 30. 
2012 Henkes, Alice. «Kleine Welten statt grosser Gesten». Tages-Anzeiger, June 12.
2012 Rütti-Saner, Fränzi: «Immer gehen lange Recherchen voraus», Der Sonntag, Nr. 28, July 15
2011 De Julio-Paquin, Jean. «La Triennale québécoise 2011 au MAC». Vie des Arts No 225.
2009 Campeau, Sylvain. «Electric Mountains». CV Ciel Variable No 83.
2009 Poulin, Patrick. «Trivial Pursuit». ETC - Revue de L'Art Actuel, No 87.
2009 Delgado, Jérome. «De tout autres gratte-ciels». Le Devoir, May 23.
2009 Hamilton Sarah. «Exploring security risks». Edmonton Journal, August 7.
2009 Weber, Marliss. «Watching The Watchmen». SEE Magazine, August 6.
2009 Griwkowsky, Fish. «Under Watch». The Edmonton Sun, August 4.
2009 Hamilton, Sarah. «Thomas Kneubuhler keeps an eye on security guards». Vue Weekly, August 27.
2009 Paquet, Suzanne. «La ville, d'ores et déjà photographique». CV Ciel Variable, No 82.
2008 Friedli, Isabel. «Real Estate im Kunstmuseum Solothurn». Kunstbulletin No 5, May.
2008 Hofmann, Annette. «Vom White Cube zum White Fence». Regioartline, April 22.
2008 Rodriguez, Pablo. «Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal». Canadian Art, Spring 2008.
2007 Dezainde, Line. “Dualités, Ambiguités”. Vie des Arts No 205, Winter issue 2007.
2007 Tousignant, Isa. “Thomas Kneubühler's Access Denied.” Hour, September 6.
2006 McIlroy, Randal. “Office 2000”. Carnet - Visual Arts in Manitoba. January 2006.
2005 Campeau, Sylvain. «Le site insigne». ETC - Revue de L'Art Actuel, No 69
2005 Edwards, SB. «Thomas Kneubühler - Office 2000». CV Ciel Variable, No 66
2005 Roberts, Lorne. «Highrise contradictions». Winnipeg Free Press, October 27.
2004 Crevier, Lyne. «La ruche». ICI, Septembre 30.
2004 Delgado, Jérome. «Montréal, la nuit» La Presse, September 9.
2004 Lamarche, Bernard. «Des Espaces sans qualités». Le Devoir, September 11.
2004 Mavrikakis, Nicolas. «Kneubühler chez Skol». Voir, September 9.
2004 Tousignant, Isa. «Thomas Kneubühler gets stuck at the office». Hour, September 9.
2002 Crevier, Lyne. «Ca plane pour nous». ICI, November 28.
2002 Delgado, Jérome. «Hors du monde» La Presse, November 24
2002 Hirschmann, Thomas. «Generation next». Now Magazine, November 21.
2002 Mavrikakis, Nicolas. «Sur les ailes d'un ange». Voir, November 21.
2002 Woodley, Matthew. «Fasten your seatbelts». Montréal Mirror, November 22.


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