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Article

French, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in France.

Born 11 August 1950, in New York.

Installation artist, photographer. Multimedia.

Art Narratif.

Aballéa studied epistemology. She lives and works in Paris. Aballéa's work stages natural phenomena and scientific descriptions entirely of her own invention, which she describes using writings in the form of tales. Her work generally involves an environment in which light has a predominant place: 'In my work, I like to tell stories. I tell them through space, image, situation and text. I don't believe in any defined limitation between the real and the unreal, but rather a large, fluctuating zone of possibilities. My works are situated in this large zone.' She willingly refers to Borgès and Lewis Carroll, provoking a mêlée between elements of reality and textual fiction. She often uses photographs re-touched with pastel colours which she accompanies with texts....

Article

Yugoslav, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in the Netherlands.

Born 30 November 1946, in Belgrade (now in Serbia).

Performance artist. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Body Art.

Marina Abramovic studied at the fine arts academy in Belgrade from 1965 to 1970 and began executing her first performance pieces, films and videos between ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Jessica Santone

(b Belgrade, Nov 30, 1946).

Serbian performance artist, video artist and installation artist. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (1965–70) before completing her post-diploma studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, in 1972. Her early works included sound recordings installed on bridges, paintings of truck crashes, and experiments with conceptual photography (see Widrich, pp. 80–97). In her first significant performance, Rhythm 10 (1973), she repeatedly and rapidly stabbed the spaces between her fingers with various knives. Later, in Rhythm 0 (1974; see Ward, pp. 114–30), she invited gallery visitors to choose from 72 available objects to use on her body, as she stood unresponsive for 6 hours. Her infamous performance Thomas’ Lips (1975; see M. Abramović and others, pp. 98–105), in which she cut, flagellated, and froze herself, established her practice as one that dramatically explored the physical limits of the human body, as seen in the work of Gena Pane or Chris Burden (...

Article

Frazer Ward

(Hannibal)

(b New York, Jan 24, 1940).

American poet, performance, video, and installation artist, and urban designer. Acconci worked for an MFA degree at the University of Iowa from 1962 to 1964. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing that emphasized the physicality of the page and then began to produce visual work in real space in 1969. He worked as a performance artist from 1969 until 1974. His performance work addressed the social construction of subjectivity. A central work, Seedbed (1972; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), saw Acconci masturbate for six hours a day, hidden under a sloping gallery floor, involving visitors in the public expression of private fantasy. Between 1974 and 1979 he made a series of installations often using video and especially sound, mainly in gallery spaces, examining relations between subjectivity and public space. For Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway) (1976; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), a long table in the gallery and recorded voices suggested a realm of public or communal debate, but the table extended out of the window over the street like a diving board, countering idealism with the realities of city life. In the 1980s Acconci made sculptures and installations, many viewer-activated, invoking basic architectural units and domestic space. ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Hameenlinna, Finland, 1959).

Finnish film maker and video artist. She studied at Helsinki University (1980–85), the London College of Printing (1990–91) and then at both UCLA and the American Film Institute, Los Angeles (1994–5). In 1990 she was awarded the Paulo Foundation Prize for Young Artist of the Year. After experimentation with photography, installation art and performance art, Ahtila turned to film and video in the 1990s. The three mini-films Me/We, Okay and Gray (1993) each lasting 90 seconds and written and directed by her, were shown separately and as a trilogy, as trailers in cinemas, on television during commercial breaks and in art galleries. They are noted for their use of narrative conventions derived from film, television and advertising, through which they explore questions of identity and group relations. Ahtila’s main preoccupation with narrative and what she terms ‘human dramas’ was continued in the film ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1968, in Redondo Beach (California).

Installation artist, photographer, film maker. Multimedia.

Doug Aitken is a graduate of the Pasadena Art Center College of Design. He started as art director for Fatboy Slim, Iggy Pop and Barenaked Ladies' video clips. He operates from New York and Los Angeles. His installation ...

Article

Kevin Mulhearn

(b Johannesburg, 1959).

South African sculptor and installation and multimedia artist. Though Alexander trained as a sculptor at the University of the Witwatersrand, earning a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1982 and a Masters in 1988, she nevertheless pursued a variety of artistic disciplines, regularly employing photomontage and sometimes using video in her practice. While working towards her Masters’ degree, she produced Butcher Boys (1985–6), an iconic work from this contentious era in South African history. The sculptural tableau presents three monstrous, grey nude male figures built from plaster over a gauze core and glazed with oil paint. Seated casually on a bench, their heads strikingly combine human and animal forms, with twisting horns and sealed-up mouths. While Butcher Boys, like many of the artist’s works, responded to its socio-historical context, Alexander typically has not produced explicitly political work or supplied interpretive statements, preferring pieces to remain open-ended in their meanings....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1960, in Miami.

Digital artist. E-books, internet art, online performance.

Mark Amerika studied at the University of Florida, obtaining a BA degree in 1985, and a master's degree from Brown University in 1997. He has been Creative Writing Fellow and Lecturer in Network Publishing and Hypertext at Brown University, and is Professor of Digital Art at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He professes a number of influences including William Burroughs, Stanley Kubrick and Robert Rauschenberg. Amerika is regarded as a pioneer in the digital arts field....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 5 June 1947, in Chicago.

Installation artist, performance artist, photographer, musician.

Computer Art (Multimedia Art).

Laurie Anderson graduated in art history at Barnard College in 1969, and obtained a second degree of Fine Arts in sculpture from Columbia University in ...

Article

Christiane Paul

(b Buffalo, NY, May 25, 1978).

American computer artist, performance artist, video artist, installation artist, composer, sculptor, and printmaker. He graduated in 2000 from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he originally studied classical guitar but later switched to the technology of music. At Oberlin he also met Paul B. Davis with whom he formed the Beige Programming Ensemble in 2000, and released a record of 8-bit music entitled The 8-Bit Construction Set. In 2010 he co-founded, with Howie Chen and Alan Licht, the band Title TK.

Arcangel’s body of work has consistently addressed a series of themes, such as the manner in which we express ourselves through technological tools and platforms (from Photoshop to YouTube) in funny, original, creative, and awkward ways. His projects often explore our fascination with technology by playfully undermining our expectations of it and limiting viewers’ control. Another theme that frequently surfaces is the speed of technological obsolescence and the absurdity of a given technology’s lifecycle, which often moves from the cutting-edge of design to an insult of good taste (see Siegel, pp. 81–2). Arcangel connects these themes to the history of art, drawing parallels between pop-cultural vernacular and approaches in the fine art world and combining high tech and do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches. Among his best-known works are his hacks and modifications of Nintendo game cartridges and obsolete computer systems from the 1970s and 1980s (...

Article

Greek, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 1954, in Athens.

Draughtsman, engraver, sculptor, video artist. Multimedia.

Michalis Arfaras first studied painting at the school of fine arts in Athens between 1972 and 1974. He continued his studies at the college of fine arts in Brunswick in Germany where he specialised in engraving and produced book illustrations and comic strips. He now lives and works in Hildesheim where he teaches graphic art at the university....

Article

Kate Sloan

(b Bath, Oct 26, 1934).

English conceptual artist, writer, and educator. Ascott was a leading figure in the fields of cybernetic, telematics, and interactive art starting in the 1960s. After finishing school, he completed his National Service in RAF Fighter Command between 1953 and 1955, an experience that had an enduring influence upon his development as an artist. Following his military service, Ascott trained at King’s College at the University of Durham campus in Newcastle (1955–1959) under Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton. He quickly assimilated the core lessons of his teachers, who were both leading figures in the Basic Design movement in British art education. This pedagogical approach used a grammar of abstract form as the basis for shared preliminary courses for art and design students. As a student he won a scholarship to visit Paris, where he met with the sculptor Nicolas Schöffer. Upon graduation Ascott was employed as a studio demonstrator at King’s College (...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 20 November 1946, in Harrisburg (Pennsylvania).

Sculptor, draughtswoman, multimedia artist.

Land Art.

Alice Aycock studied at Rutgers University (Douglass College), New Brunswick, NJ, receiving a BA in 1968, when she moved to New York. She obtained an MA from Hunter College in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Installation artist, video artist, photographer, sculptor, film maker. Multimedia.

Beth B. attended art school as a child. She studied at University of California, Irvine, and at San Diego State University, and obtained a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She took her initial as a surname from 'B-Movies', the film company she founded in New York City in the late 1970s. Beth B. has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the New York State Council on the Arts. She is co-founder of the artists' group Collaborative Projects Inc. She lives in New York City....

Article

Spanish, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1957, in Bilbao.

Sculptor, installation artist. Multimedia.

Txomin Badiola lives and works in Bilbao and spent eight years in New York during the 1990s. He produces large-scale pieces in steel with smooth flat geometric surfaces supported by feet and posts, giving them the appearance of constructions. Alongside his sculptures, he also creates installations that make use of other media, including video, photography and sound and that incorporate elements of popular culture, such as the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard, Fassbinder and Pasolini. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions, including: in ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1967, in San Francisco.

Assemblage artist, installation artist, performance artist. Multimedia.

Identity Art.

Matthew Barney studied at Yale University, receiving a BA in 1989. His experiences in sport and modelling are reflected in his artistic work, particularly in videos of his performances requiring significant physical endurance and athleticism, such as ...

Article

Frazer Ward

(b San Francisco, CA, 1967).

American sculptor, installation artist, filmmaker, and video artist. Barney emerged in the early 1990s to considerable fanfare, based on the reputation of works made while still an undergraduate at Yale University (he graduated with a BA in 1989), and early exhibitions in New York galleries. Exhibitions such as Field Dressing (1989; New Haven, CT, Yale, U., Payne Whitney Athletic Complex), and early works in the series Drawing Restraint (begun in 1987), established characteristics of Barney’s work: striking imagery drawn from an idiosyncratic range of sources (sport-oriented in the earliest works), sculptural objects in signature materials (e.g. petroleum jelly, ‘self-lubricating plastic’), and athletic performances by the artist, in the service of arcane personal mythology (see fig.). These characteristics are most fully expressed in the Cremaster cycle of five films (1994–2003, released out of order, beginning with Cremaster 4 (1992)). Elaborate and expensive productions featuring lush imagery, drawing on both marginal and mainstream histories (performance art and Hollywood cinema), Celtic and Masonic lore, popular cultural references (Harry Houdini, Gary Gilmore), and anatomical metaphors (the Cremaster is the muscle by which the testicles are raised and lowered), the ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in New York and Berlin.

Born 1949, in Columbus (Ohio).

Installation artist, sculptor, mixed media, video artist. Multimedia.

Judith Barry studied finance, architecture and art at the University of Florida, graduating in 1972. She received an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Columbus, OH, 1949).

American installation artist and video artist. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1972, having studied finance, architecture and art; in 1986 she received an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology. Barry’s work was consistently guided by an interest in the ways in which lived social relations are translated into built form in architecture and public space. Casual Shopper (1980–81; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 14) is typical of her early video pieces in examining these issues through a narrative about a couple in a Californian shopping mall; in it, Barry shows how the realms of private fantasy blend into the fantastical confections of the mall’s architecture. The slide and film installation In the Shadow of the City...Vamp r y... (1982–5) points to her related interests in subject formation, states of mind, and the way in which power is exercised through the gaze: bringing together a series of domestic and urban spaces, the images show a number of figures looking out of a window and a woman watching a man sleep. ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 25 March 1952, in Tulle.

Installation artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Conceptual Art.

Bazile worked under the name of Bazilebustamente from 1983 to 1987. At an exhibition at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris in 1982, he installed four signs visible both from the outside and the inside: a tobacconist's sign for smell, a restaurant sign for taste, a locksmith's sign to say, perhaps, that each individual possesses the key, and for sight, optician's spectacles. Bazile's work is subversive, denouncing the mannerisms and rules of the artistic world. He presents familiar objects and signals in order to enter into contact with a public dimension, but without always directly addressing the uninitiated. He took part in collective exhibitions under the name of Bazile: ...