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Picture perfect Film, photography, art: why Gus Van Sant isn’t just a director

Known for directing Hollywood blockbusters ‘Good Will Hunting’ and ‘Milk’, Gus Van Sant will now feature in the first retrospective of his work in Switzerland. The exhibition wants to put his artistic talent across many multimedia forms into the spotlight.

Born on July 24 1952 in Kentucky USA, Van Sant achieved much throughout his career as a film director, painter, photographer, musician and author. His film work deals mainly with the marginalised, and the outsider. He became a figurehead of independent cinema with his films ‘Drugstore Cowboy and ‘My Own Private Idaho’ to name just two of his well-known independent films. Van Sant also produced music videos for some of the world’s biggest acts: David Bowie and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others.

As a photographer, he used his films as a backdrop, selecting a polaroid camera to capture images of actors and anonymous individuals throughout the 90’s. He later abandoned instant photos and established himself as a fashion and music photographer.

Van Sant’s flirtation with painting was influenced by the Beat generation, notably American writer William Burroughs. He interlaced his time as a film director with the art-form throughout different times in his life, spanning from his paintings and drawings of the 1970’s to larger format watercolours he created in 2011.

You can delve in to the eclectic world of Gus Van Sant this October at the Musée de l'Elyséeexternal link in Lausanne, Switzerland.