Light Lines: The Architectural Photographs of Hélène Binet

The Royal Academy of Arts | London

Hélène Binet, Zaha Hadid Architects, Riverside Museum of Transport, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 2010. Digital black-and-white silver-gelatin print, 80 x 102 cm. Courtesy ammann // projects. © Hélène Binet

Over the past 30 years, Hélène Binet has travelled the world to photograph works by architects including Le Corbusier, Zaha Hadid RA, Nicholas Hawksmoor, Daniel Libeskind, Jørn Utzon and Peter Zumthor Hon RA. The exhibition spans Swiss-French photographer’s career, showcasing around 90 images of more than 20 projects by 12 architects.

She approaches architectural works with a spirit of enquiry, seeking to understand the underlying conditions of the site and the intention of the architect. Often her photographs focus on a fragment of a building and do not aim to portray the whole story.

Hélène Binet, John Hejduk, Object/Subject Riga, Philadelphia, United States, 1987. Hand-printed black-and-white silver-gelatin print, 29 x 29 cm. © Hélène Binet

Hélène Binet, Lingering Garden, Suzhou Gardens, China, 2018. Digital C-type print, 80 x 80 cm. Private collection, courtesy Large Glass, London. © Hélène Binet

Hélène Binet, Zaha Hadid Architects, Vitra Firestation, Weil am Rhein, Germany, 1993. Digital black-and-white silver-gelatin print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy ammann // projects. © Hélène Binet

Seeking simplicity from complexity, Binet primarily makes black-and-white images that deal with light, space and form. She works only with film and has handprinted many of the works within the exhibition in her London darkroom, restricting the scale of the work to give it intimacy. Observing the essential elements of architecture, such as floor, ceiling and wall, Binet transports viewers to imaginary landscapes beyond the frame of the photograph.

Hélène Binet, Atelier Peter Zumthor, Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Wachendorf, Germany, 2009. Digital black-and-white silver-gelatin print, 102 x 80 cm. Courtesy ammann // projects. © Hélène Binet

Hélène Binet, Le Corbusier, Canons de Lumière, Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette, Eveux, France, 2007. Digital C-type print, 102 x 80 cm. Courtesy ammann // projects. © Hélène Binet

Hélène Binet, Sergio Musmeci, Ponte sul Basento, Potenza, Italy, 2015. Digital black-and-white silver-gelatin print, 153 x 120 cm. © Hélène Binet

The exhibition is curated by Vicky Richardson, Head of Architecture and Drue Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, in collaboration with Hélène Binet.

The Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries
23 October 2021 – 23 January 2022