Batia Suter


Domestic Night /Dark Pages

Domestic Night/ Dark Pages is an installation that brings together almost 100 inkjet prints and a collection of lost pages from old books and magazines. Batia Suter, who first created the installation Domestic Night in 2018, revisits her collection of images taken from books found at flea markets for MBAL. For over 30 years, the artist has been thinking in images. Fascinated by illustrated books, atlases, scientific prints, catalogues, art books and magazines of all kinds, she collects, accumulates and classifies the images she extracts from these often outdated publications. Once the pictures have been patiently collected and classified, Batia Suter scans them, then mounts and assembles them until new visual relationships emerge.

In her compositions, Batia Suter creates a dialogue between academic and popular culture. She is as interested in scientific images, for example from astronomy, which are produced under very complex technical conditions, as she is in advertising or motorbike manuals. The images in Domestic Night were selected for their dark side – literally. The artist has chosen near-black reproductions here. Once the pages have been scanned, the artist discovers new details in the dark areas of the reproductions through enlargement. The digital tool thus allows her to navigate within the images, the scans revealing all sorts of anomalies such as hairs, scratches and infinite variations of saturation that come into visual conflict with the subject. Suter’s visual explorations are not only about representations (how an object is photographed) but also about ink (how an image is printed). Always decontextualised and out of use, the images, gathered by the artist for their single motive, develop new narratives.

The artist has completed her installation by assembling pages of books, also taken out of their context, in a display case. Again, she creates new visual relationships with the black as the only thread. The pages taken out of their original book appear without any information at all, as these are now missing. Batia Suter’s work is the opposite of scientific archiving that seeks to master the past. Her collection of detached and decontextualised pages would be a librarian’s nightmare! 

Born in Switzerland and living and working in Amsterdam, Batia Suter (1967) creates work that unfolds in the form of monumental installations made from found images that merge through juxtaposition. Her books Parallel Encyclopedia(2007) and Parallel Encyclopedia #2 (2016) are composed of images taken from old books she has collected over the years. Surface Series (2011), Radial Grammar (2018) and Hexamiles (2019) show other visual explorations. Seeking to make images communicate according to their own logic, the artist creates series that give new lives to printed images – its  creative material.