Beyond Photography



We are pleased to host an exclusive conversation between Art Vontobel collection artist Emmanuel Van der Auwera and Haus der Elektronischen Künste (HEK Basel) Director Sabine Himmelsbach on Friday June 9, 2023 to celebrate the opening of Art Vontobel’s new exhibition: Beyond Photography.

Beyond Photography presents five collection artists – Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, Alan Butler, Maya Rochat, Emmanuel Van der Auwera and Salvatore Vitale – brought together by their shared use of photography as part of an interdisciplinary practice. While Art Vontobel is dedicated to contemporary photographic and image-based art, many of the artists within the collection use photography as part of a multimedia practice that extends beyond the frame. In highlighting artists who challenge the conventional norms of the medium, Beyond Photography addresses how photography expands beyond the medium through formats, such as video, which naturally intersect, influence, and complement it.

Collectively, these five artists speak to the diverse uses and transformation of photography, in particular the multifaceted approach of many contemporary artists in an era when the definition and in particular the use and consumption of the image is continually changing. As a natural extension of their creative practice, video and moving image allows them to tell stories and create immersive environments that are not possible with still photography alone, while the medial pairing adds a new dimension to the experience of their work: Rochat or Adu-Sanyah’s moving images poetically reflect on the (natural) beauty of the world around us, its substance and transformation. Van der Auwera’s video sculpture plays with the viewer’s perception by analysing the process of producing ‘reality’ by means of images and technology. Vitale and Butler, on the other hand, both raise questions of social impacts of current digital advances.



Program – Friday June 9, 2023

14:00 Welcome Drink


Welcome by Thomas Heinzl, Chief Financial Officer and member of the Arts Commission, Vontobel 

Artist Talk between Emmanuel Van der Auwera, Artist and Sabine Himmelsbach, Director of the HEK Moderated by Georgina Casparis, Head & Curator, Art Vontobel

15:30 Opening reception for the new exhibition Beyond Photography curated by Art Vontobel, in presence of the artists




About Emmanuel Van der Auwera

Through filmmaking, video-sculpture, theatre, printmaking, and other media, Brussels-based artist Emmanuel Van der Auwera (*1982, Belgium) sets up encounters with found images that provoke a questioning of our visual literacy: How do images of contemporary mass media operate on various publics and to what end? In doing so, he explores the intersections of our digital and physical life and how the filtering of images in production, dissemination, and modes of consumption alter both our individual perception and consensual experience.

Van der Auwera is a 2015 Laureate of the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) post-academic course in Ghent and a 2015 Langui Award recipient of the Young Belgian Art Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include Seeing is Revealing at HEK, Switzerland (2022); FULL A.L.I.C.E. at Photoforum Pasquart, Switzerland (2022); The Sky is on Fire at Botanique, Belgium (2019); Blue Water White Death at Mu.zee, Belgium (2018). His work was also recently exhibited at the First Jinan International Biennial (Shandong, China), the Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich, Germany), WIELS (Brussels, Belgium), The Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France), Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Prato, Italy), Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), Casino Luxembourg - Forum d’art contemporain (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg) among others. His work features in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, KANAL - Centre  Pompidou, Mu.ZEE, Collection de la Province de Hainaut - BPS22, the National Bank of Belgium, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.


About the HEK

HEK (House of Electronic Arts) in Basel is dedicated to digital culture and the new art forms of the Information Age. Since 2011, the institution has been central to the creative and critical discourse on the aesthetic, socio-political and economic effects of media technologies. As a platform for contemporary art that explores and employs new technologies, HEK promotes aesthetic practices related to information technologies. This not only enables a better comprehension of the changing world we live in, but also serves to actively engage with these processes and confront pressing questions of 21st century culture, while actively contributing to their mediation.