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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

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

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

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

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

Indonesian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Born 1949, in Blitar, Indonesia.

Installation artist, photographer, filmmaker. Mixed media, multimedia, video.

F.X. Harsono studied painting at the Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa Indonesia, Yogyakarta (1969–1974). In 1974, he was expelled from the school for his participation in the Desember Hitam (Black December), a student-led movement in protest of the state-sanctioned modernism that dominated the art academies of Indonesia. Along with like-minded artists, Harsono formed the Kelompok Seni Rupa Baru (New Art Group, ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Karachi, Pakistan, April 18, 1968).

British film maker, installation artist and conceptual artist of Pakistani birth, active in England. She completed a BFA at Goldsmiths’ College, London, between 1991 and 1994. For her degree show she created Pushed/Pulled (1994; see 1998 exh. cat.), changing the door panels at the entrance to the college’s studios so that they read ‘Pushed’ and ‘Pulled’ rather than ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’. This kind of conceptual slippage is typical of Floyer’s work. In Light (1994; Berne, Ksthalle), a disconnected lightbulb is illuminated by the beams from four slide projectors; the blandly descriptive title, like the work itself, is both truthful and paradoxically misleading, undermining the viewer’s expectations of the object’s functionality. Floyer uses these dislocations to produce situations in which viewers are made to feel very selfconscious about what they should be seeing, often using projections as a means of producing apparent displacements of objects or sounds. In the video ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Manila, 1954).

Filipino filmmaker and photographer, active in the USA. Fuentes received a BA in Anthropology and Behavioral Science in 1974 from the De La Salle University in Manila. The following year he traveled to the United States to study at the Wharton School of Business, Philadelphia, PA, receiving an MBA in 1977. In 1981, he moved to Washington, DC to study Photography at the Corcoran School of Art under Mark Power. Fuentes subsequently received a Presidential Fellowship in 1991 from Temple University to pursue a MFA in Film and Video.

Fuentes began his artistic practice as a photographer and is best known in this medium for two series, Circle of Fear (1981–91) and Face Fusion (1986–9). These two bodies of work initially sprang from the artist’s feeling of disconnection towards both his Filipino roots and his adopted home in America. The Circle of Fear works incorporate a syncretic mix of Filipino folk culture with Western iconography to create fetishistic still lifes with a Post-modern gothic sensibility. ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Dhaka, Dec 10, 1970).

British film maker of Bangladeshi birth. She studied at Manchester Metropolitan University (1990–92); the Rijksakademie von beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (1997–8) and Middlesex University (1995). European avant-garde film has been a major influence on Islam, and her earliest work, dating from the mid-1990s, centred on the material character of film. These interests soon evolved into an examination of how the uncanny intersects with the everyday: Refuse (1996), a set of colour slides mounted on a lightbox, depicts the varied rubbish that was left under a tree over the space of a year. Her more recent work has returned to examining the formal language of film. In Stare Out (Blink) (1998; see Wilson, 2001), the negative image of a woman’s face is projected onto a screen until it disappears with a sudden flash, leaving the viewer with an after-image lingering momentarily on the retina; the work dramatizes the activity of visual memory and the way in which the brain processes information. In the companion piece, ...

Article

Anis Farooqi

(b Kapadvanj, Gujarat, July 26, 1925; d Mumbai, July 2, 2009).

Indian painter, sculptor and film maker. He studied painting from 1947 to 1952 at the Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Bombay, where he became acquainted with akbar Padamsee and was a close associate of the painters in the Progressive Artists’ Group. In 1954 he visited London and Paris for four months, then returned to India to devote himself to painting and sculpture. He took part in several group exhibitions and held his first solo exhibition of drawings, paintings and sculptures at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, in 1959. From 1959 to 1965 he lived and worked in London, exhibiting his paintings at the Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford (1962), among other locations. From 1965 to 1968 he lived in Delhi and in 1968 visited New York on a fellowship from the J. D. Rockefeller III Fund. By that time he was an acknowledged figure in contemporary Indian art. His paintings of the 1970s include ...

Article

Gayatri Sinha

Since the mid-1990s, video and new media practice in India has dealt with issues of identity, critiques of violence, narrative and performance, and other subjects that come under the umbrella of third world issues. Video art has grown to mimic not only the older model of documentary cinema, but also the internet, interactive toys and video games, digital imaging and performance art. Its content is often politically insistent and responsive to many of the social issues debated within the subcontinent. Interest in new media emerges as much from artists’ training and residencies abroad and the initiatives of foreign curators as it does from artists’ concerns with the politics of identity. The new media experience in India has little synergy with India’s great software boom, or its widespread receptiveness to technological communication, a fact borne out since the 1850s with the successful use of photography, cinema, radio and television even in remote pockets of the country. From ...

Article

Reena Jana

(b Tokyo, Feb 10, 1968).

Vietnamese video artist of Japanese birth, active also in the USA. Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Vietnamese father. He moved to the USA to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. His work concentrates on the issues of Vietnam’s national identity and history, particularly in the context of the Vietnam War (1955–75). A recurring theme is the experience of Vietnamese refugees, known as ‘boat people’, who were displaced by the war and sought to escape from their native Vietnam after the conflict ceased in hand-made boats.

To evoke Vietnam’s long coastline, as well as South-east Asia’s numerous river basins, Nguyen-Hatsushiba filmed his non-linear narratives underwater. His video productions are accompanied by dynamic soundtracks, often composed by Nguyen-Hatsushiba in conjunction with musicians, such as the Vietnamese pop star Quoc Bao. Nguyen-Hatsushiba is best known for his three-part series, ...

Article

Peter A. Nagy

Indian new media artists and theorists . Raqs Media Collective was formed in 1991 by New Delhi artists, Jeebesh Bagchi (b 6 July 1965), Monica Narula (b 13 June 1969) and Shuddhabrata Sengupta (b 12 Feb 1968), who met when they were studying for their masters’ degrees in mass communication at Jamia Milia University, New Delhi. The collective have explained the significance of their name in stating that:

Raqs is a word in Persian, Arabic and Urdu that means the state that whirling dervishes enter into when they whirl. It is also a word used for dance. At the same time, Raqs could be an acronym, standing for “rarely asked questions.”

Their practice incorporates new media, digital art, documentary filmmaking, photography, media theory and research, writing, criticism and curation ( see fig. ).

In 2002 they shot onto the international art world stage by being included in ...

Article

Thai, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1957, in Nakhorn Swan.

Painter (mixed media). Multimedia.

Vasan Sitthiket studied in Bangkok. His work is rooted in a particular socio-political context. As well as painting, Sitthiket produces video works and installations.

He has had solo exhibitions including: Hell...

Article

Indonesian, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1966, in Pekan Baru, Indonesia.

Active in Amsterdam.

Photographer and film maker. Film and video installations, artists’ books.

Fiona Tan was born in Indonesia, the daughter of a Chinese father and an Australian mother of Scottish heritage. She spent most of her childhood in Melbourne, Australia. As an adult she relocated to Amsterdam, where she now lives and works. She studied art at Gerrit Rietveld Academie ...