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Article

Sarah Urist Green

(b Kabul, June 5, 1973).

Afghan video and performance artist and photographer, active also in the USA. After fleeing Soviet-occupied Kabul with her family in the late 1980s, Abdul lived as a refugee in Germany and India before moving to Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and an MFA at the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. Abdul first returned to a post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2001, where she encountered a place and people transformed by decades of violence and unrest. Since that time, Abdul has made work in Kabul and Los Angeles, staging herself in performances and creating performance-based video works and photography that explore ideas of home and the interconnection between architecture and identity.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Abdul made emotionally intense performance art informed by that of Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović and Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta. At the time unable to travel to Afghanistan, Abdul created and documented performances in Los Angeles that probed her position as Afghan, female, Muslim, a refugee and a transnational artist. In ...

Article

Absalon  

Israeli, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1964, in Tel-Aviv; died 10 October 1993, in Paris.

Installation artist, environmental artist, video artist.

Absalon lived and worked in Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Christian Boltanski.

Absalon produced maquettes for ‘Utopian’ furniture upholstered entirely and uniformly in aseptic white plastic. Totally impractical, his furniture simply represents a desire to mark a departure from everyday convention. There is a strong element of play in some of his work, as in ...

Article

Kirstin Ringelberg

Two related art media, usually commercially distributed, featuring narratives presented in serial text-and-image format, in a Japanese context regarding language, aesthetic, storyline, and/or production. Manga, the print form, is published in weekly and monthly anthology books, with popular individual series sometimes published separately as their success waxes. Anime, the moving form, is found in television, film, and home video formats as well as online and is more globally known; one feature-length example, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi; Studio Ghibli 2001, dir. Hayao Miyazaki), earned billions of dollars and major critical awards worldwide (e.g. Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear for Best Film in 2002, British Academy Awards Best Animated Feature in 2003, and Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language in 2004).

With an enormous variety of visual and narrative styles, neither anime nor manga can be identified by a consistent theme or aesthetic, although certain genres and iconography predominate. Generally, a story is initially hand- or computer-drawn, then photographed for printing in book, film, or digital form. Most are serialized narratives having continued for decades, often across platforms; however, some ...

Article

Agung Hujatnikajennong

(b Bandung, May 21, 1961).

Indonesian installation, video and performance artist and writer. Arahmaiani graduated from the Fine Art Department of Bandung Institute of Technology in 1983 and then continued her studies at the Paddington Art School, Sydney (1985–6) before attending the Akademie voor Beeldende Kunst & Vormgeving (AKI), Enschede (1991–2). During the 1980s she was also part of a rebellious young artists’ movement in Indonesia.

Arahmaiani is known for her specific point of view in responding to the domination of academicism in the Indonesian art world, which became her departure point in developing Happenings and performance art during the early 1980s; a boom era of painting and commercialization that occurred as a result of the economic boosting under the Indonesian New Order regime. One of her most important works, Newspaper Man (1981), in which she wrapped her body in newspaper advertisements and walked through the streets and shopping malls of Bandung, stimulated a more vibrant practice and discourse on the use of human body as an art medium in Indonesian art. ...

Article

(b Nagoya, July 6, 1936; d New York, NY, May 18, 2010).

Japanese painter, performance artist, and film maker, active in the USA. He studied medicine and mathematics at Tokyo University (1954–8) and art at the Musashino College of Art in Tokyo, holding his first one-man exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo in 1958 and contributing to the Yomiuri Independent exhibitions from 1958 to 1961. In 1960 he took part in the ‘anti-art’ activities of the Neo-Dadaism Organizers in Tokyo and produced his first Happenings and a series of sculptures entitled Boxes, which consisted of amorphous lumps of cotton wads hardened in cement; many of these were put in coffin-like boxes, though one entitled Foetus was laid on a blanket. In pointing to the sickness of contemporary society, these works caused a great scandal in Tokyo.

In 1961 Arakawa settled in New York, where soon afterwards he addressed himself to the idea of a work being ‘untitled’. In taking as his subject this apparent lack of subject, he emphasized the areas of the picture surface where the subject ‘ought to be’ by means of a few well-placed coloured framing marks, as in ...

Article

Michael Jay McClure

(b Istanbul, 1961).

Turkish video and installation artist, active also in England and Pakistan. He was educated at Mimar Sinan University, the Sorbonne, Paris, Los Angeles Santa Monica College, and the University of California, Los Angeles (MFA, 1988). Ataman holds a prominent place among artists exploring identity, sexuality, documentation, and the cultural politics of the Middle East and its diasporas; his work echoes that of Shirin Neshat, Omer Fast, Mona Hatoum, and the more commercial filmmaker Fatih Akin, among others.

Producing multi-channel ‘video sculptures’, Ataman explores states of psychological, cultural, and social displacement, often employing massive amounts of footage in a quasi-documentary style. An early piece, Women Who Wear Wigs (1999; see images tab for additional illustration), is a representative example. On a four-channel display, four Turkish women reveal their reasons for donning wigs: a reporter who recently lost her hair due to chemotherapy, a transsexual prostitute forced to shave her head by the police, a targeted terrorist who disguises herself, and a student banned from wearing a traditional headscarf in school. The wig, which conceals and connects these women, parallels how Ataman uses video: as a medium that both reveals and obfuscates its subjects. A spectator must negotiate not only the truth of the stories but also their syncopated broadcasts distributed over the space of the exhibition. Indeed, Ataman often uses the situation of the screens to disorienting sculptural effect. In ...

Article

Lebanese, 20th century, male.

Born 12 July 1942, in Beirut.

Painter, sculptor, photographer, video artist.

Kinetic Art.

Roland Baladi permutated various techniques, notably drawings and photographs, to produce the Photograms he exhibited in Beirut in 1962. In 1971, Roland Baladi exhibited a piece entitled Cinetone...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Japan and the USA.

Born 8 December 1957, in Quanzhou City (Fujian Province).

Painter, draughtsman, mixed media, video artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Cai Guo-Qiang trained in stage design at the Shanghai drama institute from 1981 to 1985...

Article

Cao Fei  

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1978, in Guangzhou, China.

Photographer, performance artist. Video, multimedia.

Cao Fei graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2001, having attended middle school at the same institution four years earlier. She was a co-founder of the partnership Ou Ning + Cao Fei. Her early photography and subsequent interactive sound and video-game environments, or ‘machinima’, emerged from her initial interest in commercial advertising and electronic entertainment videos. Her works often blur reality by involving virtual cosplay figures who imitate manga superhero figures, often artist friends or youths. These performances take place in the urban environment and engage the art world with virtual economies, as well as linking to the rapid modernization and consumerism emerging within China since the turn of the century. She has become known for her ongoing experimental, animated, ethnographic documentary that engages the online world of Second Life to create the virtual RMB City. The video was first shown at the Venice Biennale (China Tracy Pavilion, ...

Article

(b Busan, March 4, 1951; d New York, Nov 5, 1982).

Korean artist and writer active in the USA. Cha was born and raised in Busan, Korea, moving to Hawaii with her parents in the mid-1960s, and then later to San Francisco. Trained in French from early adolescence, she studied comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, including the works of Stéphane Mallarmé. As part of her theoretical studies, Cha also majored in visual art, first concentrating on ceramics and then moving to performance-based work under the tutelage of James Melchert (b 1930). After graduating in both disciplines in 1973 and 1975 respectively, Cha continued her studies in visual art at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving an MFA in 1978. During this time, she studied abroad in Paris at the Centre d’Etudes Américain du Cinéma in 1976, working with psychoanalytic theorists such as Christian Metz and Raymond Bellour. Works created during this time were based on symbols, the manipulation of language via experimentation with font, scale and the placement of words, as well as cinematic devices such as the fade....

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1973, in Hong Kong.

Video artist, multi-media artist, activist, and publisher. Artists’ books

Paul Chan spent his early childhood in Hong Kong but immigrated to Omaha, Nebraska, in his youth. He began his BFA in video and digital arts at the Art Institute of Chicago in ...

Article

British-Chinese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Born 1977, in Hong Kong.

Installation artist, film-maker. Multimedia, video.

Suki Chan spent her early childhood in Hong Kong’s rural district of the New Territories, before emigrating with her family to Oxford, England, at the age of six. Despite the difficulties of adjusting to a second language and culture and having at times a sense of displacement, she went on to study at London’s Goldsmiths’ College, from which she graduated in ...

Article

Aileen June Wang

(b San Leandro, CA, Feb 3, 1972).

American performance and video artist of Chinese ancestry. Chang earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. She showed her first solo exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, in 1999. Her body of work focused on how people can be deceived, either through sight—what one sees is not necessarily true—or through mainstream assumptions about such topics as Asia, sexuality, and socially accepted behavior. Chang attributed her past stint in a cybersex company as the catalyst for exploring illusion as a theme. She realized that video flattened three-dimensional, live performances into a stream of two-dimensional images, enabling her to engage in visual deception.

Most of Chang’s early works investigated problems of gender and sexuality, using her own body and elements suggesting violence or transgression. The photograph Fountain (1999) depicted her inside a cubicle of a public lavatory, with a urinal visible on the far wall. Wearing a business suit, she knelt on hands and knees, seemingly kissing herself but actually slurping water off a mirror on the floor. The accompanying video focused on Chang’s face and her passionate interaction with her own reflection. While the photograph suggested female humiliation in a male world, the video complicated matters by implying that the act was motivated by narcissism....

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Born 1946, in Zhenhai (Zhejiang); died 11 April 2005.

Painter, filmmaker. Figure compositions, portraits, landscapes.

Chen Yifei graduated from Shanghai College of Art in 1965 and started his career there, becoming head of the painting section. From 1972 to 1979, he took part in many national exhibitions, mainly in Beijing and Shanghai. In 1980 Chen left to begin a new career in the USA, where he remained until 1992. Quickly achieving recognition, he took part in several important exhibitions and, in 1982, was awarded the National Chinese Art Review’s first prize. His painting ...

Article

Vietnamese-American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1968, in Ha Tien, Vietnam.

Photographer, video artist, conceptual artist.

In 1978, Dinh Q. Lê fled Vietnam with his family to the United States, where he eventually gained U.S. citizenship. After completing his BA in fine arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Dec 6, 1966).

Chinese performance, video and installation artist . Song studied painting at Capital Normal University, Beijing (1985–9), after which he was a middle school art teacher, until his exhibition schedule grew too demanding. Like his wife Yin Xiuzhen , Song abandoned painting in favour of installation and performance art soon after graduating. In 1994 his first exhibition of works in these media was shut down after half an hour.

A consistent theme in Song’s oeuvre has been the fleeting nature of existence and the negligible trace an individual leaves in the world. As a metaphorical expression of this theme, from 1995 he wrote diary entries on a stone slab using a brush dipped in water as an ongoing performance, Writing Diary with Water. For Printing on Water (1996), he stamped the Lhasa River repeatedly with a stamp carved with the Chinese character for water. Neither action left a permanent mark, despite the energy invested in them. One of his best-known works, ...

Article

Agung Hujatnikajennong

(b Jakarta, June 12, 1960).

Indonesian painter, installation, video and performance artist. Dono studied art at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI), Yogyakarta (1980–87) while also studying traditional Javanese shadow-puppetry (wayang kulit) under the puppeteer (dalang) Sukasman. He became known for producing works inspired by shadow-puppetry (e.g. the painting The Legend Puppet, 1988); adapting the two-dimensional imagery, the gamelan music and narration of wayang kulit to recreate metaphors of modern civilization. Dono’s work encompassed painting, sculpture, installation and performances, often employing low-tech multimedia and self-assembled electronic devices that generate music, moving images, light projection, producing a low-tech kinetic environment (e.g. Flying Angels, 1996).

Dono’s works create a meticulous connection between traditional puppetry and modern animation, as he viewed both types of moving images as lively worlds of absurdity where narratives often do not make any sense, yet seem enjoyable for people of all ages. Dono’s socio-political background—the repression of artistic freedom during the Indonesian New Order regime—drove him to choose a kind of foolish, impolite, stupid, naive, ridiculous and teasing expression in his works. Metaphors and criticism deeply imbued with jokes were the safest ways to avoid suppression and censorship by the regime. In creating criticism through ...

Article

Israeli, 20th century, male.

Active since 1972 active in England.

Born 1940, in Jerusalem.

Painter, video artist.

Conceptual Art.

He studied in Tel Aviv and exhibited in Israel from 1968. He has lived in London since 1972.

He has taken part in a number of group exhibitions including the Autumn Salon in Tel Aviv, in ...

Article

Susan T. Goodman

(b Beirut, 1936).

Israeli painter, sculptor, printmaker and film maker of Lebanese birth. He studied from 1959 to 1961 under Yehezkel Streichman at the Avni Art Institute in Tel Aviv. From 1966 to 1976 he lived in London, where he studied at St Martin’s School of Art and created sculptures concerned with movement, time and energy, for example Corners (1967; Jerusalem, Israel Mus.). He became involved with conceptual art after settling in New York in 1976, producing drawings, prints and photographs that explore energy, space and process of duration, and expanding on problems of perception in sculptural installations. In works such as August from Undercover Blues Series (1980; New York, Jew. Mus.) he used light to define the relationships between an object and its shadows, while in conceptual films such as Putney Bridge (1976) he used the environment to analyse the relationship between reality and illusion. On returning to Europe in ...

Article

Robert J. Belton

(b Jassy [now Iaşi], Romania, Aug 29, 1933).

Canadian sculptor, film maker, costume designer, playwright and poet of Romanian birth. His formal art training began in 1945 but in 1950 he emigrated to Israel. From 1953 he studied at the Institute of Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv. Etrog’s first one-man exhibition took place in 1958 and consisted of Painted Constructions, wood and canvas objects blurring the distinctions between painting and low relief (see Heinrich). In these works he tried to embody uncertainties that stemmed from his experience of Nazi aggression as a boy. The results were loosely expressionistic versions of geometric abstraction, derived in part from the work of Paul Klee.

Assisted by the painter Marcel Janco, Etrog went on a scholarship to New York, where he was inspired by Oceanic and African artefacts he saw in the collections there. This led to a preoccupation with organic abstractions, flowing totemic forms, and metaphors of growth and movement, seen in ...