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(b Groningen, July 1, 1942).

Dutch conceptual artist, film maker and television actor. He started to experiment with different coloured smoke in 1957. From the 1960s he was active as a Fluxus composer. In 1961 with Ger van Elk and the photographer Bob Wesdorp he founded the Adynamische Groep, which primarily reacted against post-war Expressionism. In 1962 he was given an exhibition at the Fodor Museum, Amsterdam, for which he covered the floor of a room with a 100 mm layer of salt and another with a few tonnes of broken glass. In pursuit of performance art, in 1963 he instigated a happening: he emptied a bottle of lemonade in the sea outside Petten, an action broadcast by Dutch television. In the same year he made a television programme about contemporary art (e.g. Fluxus, Pop art, Zero). Also in 1963 the fire brigade banned the performance of his Economic Concert (1958), which consisted of one single explosion on stage. Two years later he displayed a 5 m high purple chair in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and organized an exhibition called ...


Amy Rosenblum Martín

(b Rio Grande do Sul, Mar 5, 1968).

Brazilian conceptual artist, filmmaker, and writer, active in the USA. Schneider’s art practice revealed, questioned, and often restructured the social aspects of art. She studied at the Universidade Federal of Rio Grande do Sul, where she earned a BFA; New York University, where she graduated with an MFA; and the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, which she left before completing her doctorate in philosophy. In 1997 in New York she co-founded Union Gaucha Productions, an artist-run experimental film company that collaborated with people across disciplines. Later, in New York’s Lower East Side, Schneider co-founded Orchard gallery (2005–2008), a cooperatively organized exhibition and event space, then CAGE (2010–2014), a space for social and political gathering that created and expanded opportunities for art to exist beyond physical objects.

Art and theory were inseparable for Schneider, who considered her artwork a thinking process. Although her practice sometimes involved exhibiting real or virtual art objects or installations, she focused on art as social experience. She believed that a work’s meaning emerged from the dialogues that occurred between artist, viewer, and history—personal, political, and cultural. Her projects included leading collaborations, political movements, and radio stations, as well as designing a playground and creating other venues for gathering....


Susan T. Goodman

(b Jerusalem, 1932; d Tel Aviv, Sept 1, 2009).

Israeli sculptor and video artist. He studied from 1956 to 1958 at the Avni Art Institute in Tel Aviv, worked with sculptor Itzhak Danziger in 1958, and from 1959 to 1962 studied at St Martin’s School of Art in London. After his return to Israel in 1963 he created severely geometrical painted steel sculptures such as Red Sculpture (h. 2 m, 1968; Tel Aviv Mus. A.) and site-specific sculptural installations such as White from 0 Degrees to 180 Degrees (1969; Jerusalem, Israel Mus.) and gates (1969) at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

In 1971 Schwartz moved to New York, where he produced installations in gallery spaces; some of these challenged the viewer’s visual expectations by means of an unorthodox use of mirror images, as in Changing Square (1976; Jerusalem, Israel Mus.), or through photographs and architectonic line drawings. In 1971 he began also to work with video installations in which live images were relayed from various points of view, using closed circuit video systems and monitors, to explore the relationship between real and represented space, as in ...


Robin Holmes

(b Paris, April 1, 1963).

French photographer, video artist, and installation artist of Algerian descent, active in the UK. Born in Paris in 1963, Zineb Sedira relocated to England in 1986. In 1995 she earned a BA in critical fine art practice with a focus on post-colonial studies at Central Saint Martins School of Art. She finished an MFA in Media at the Slade School of Art in 1997 and conducted research studies at the Royal College of Art until 2003. Through the use of self-portraiture, family narrative, and images of the Mediterranean, her work has addressed ethnic, religious, and gender identities as well as issues of stereotype, displacement, and migration. She draws on her Algerian heritage in much of her work, evoking North Africa through the integration of traditional Islamic forms and motifs into her installations. In her 1997 work Quatre générations de femmes, Sedira incorporated repeated images of her mother, daughter, and herself into traditional Islamic tile patterns (...


Jennie Carlisle

(b Ziguinchor, Jan 1, 1923; d Dakar, June 10, 2007).

Senegalese novelist and film maker. The son of a fisherman, Sembène was born in the Casamance region of southern Senegal and completed his formal education at the age of 14. Through the 1940s and 1950s he was variously a soldier in World War II, a railway worker in Senegal, and a stevedore and trade-union organizer at Marseilles. Sembène started his artistic career as a writer while in Marseilles as his interest in Marxist and Pan-Africanist philosophies intensified. He was nearly 40 years of age when he decided to take up film-making and spent a year learning cinematography at the Gorki Studios in Moscow, under the direction of Soviet director Marc Donskoy (1901–81). Returning to a newly independent Senegal at the close of 1962, Sembène focused his attention on film as a didactic tool that would allow him to reach African audiences without access to literature. Nonetheless, reading and writing remained a central interest for Sembène throughout his life. His films, for which he is most well known, are mainly adaptations of his novels and short stories....


Véronique Pittolo

revised by Sarah Parsons

(b Glen Ridge, NJ, Jan 19, 1954).

American photographer. While growing up Sherman was drawn to the television environment of the 1960s and fascinated by disguise and make-up. She studied art at Buffalo State College, NY (1972–6), concentrating on photography. Throughout her long career, Sherman has employed the same basic working method: working alone, she creates characters and mise-en-scènes through make-up and costumes, nearly always using herself as a model. The resulting photographs are not considered self-portraits and are almost always untitled.

Sherman rapidly rose to celebrity status in the international art world during the early 1980s with the presentation of her series Untitled Film Stills in various group and solo exhibitions across America and Europe (see fig.). Among 130 black-and-white ‘film stills’ made between 1978 and 1980 are portraits of Sherman that recall the types of roles played by women in ‘B’ movies of the 1940s and 1950s, and by such screen idols as Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe. In other early series, such as ...


Janet Marstine

(b Woodstown, NJ, Nov 6, 1876; d New York, May 1, 1953).

American painter, illustrator, designer, playwright, and film director. He studied industrial design at the Spring Garden School in Philadelphia from 1888 to 1890. In 1893 he became an illustrator at the Philadelphia Press. Simultaneously he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, where he met Robert Henri, John Sloan, William J. Glackens, and George Luks. Their style of urban realism prompted him to depict the bleak aspects of city life. In 1897 Shinn moved to New York and produced illustrations for several newspapers and magazines, for example Mark Twain (March 1900; see Perlman, p. 80), a frontispiece for The Critic. He also drew sketches for a novel by William Dean Howells on New York; although the novel was not published, Shinn’s drawings brought him national recognition.

Shinn’s work changed radically when, on a trip to Paris in 1901, he was inspired by the theatre scenes of Manet, Degas, and Jean-Louis Forain. He began to paint performers in action, from unusual vantage points, as in ...


Andrew Cross

revised by Mary Chou

(b London Aug 9, 1962).

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in 1988, when he began using ‘Dutch-wax’ dyed fabrics, commonly found in Western Africa, both for wall-mounted works (as pseudo paintings) and for sculpted figures. Generally perceived as ‘authentic’African cloth, the tradition of Batik originated in Indonesia, and was appropriated by the Dutch who colonized the country. Manufactured in Holland and Britain, the cloth was then shipped to West Africa where it became the dress of the working class in nations such as Nigeria. Shonibare used the material as a way of deconstructing the more complex histories that determine these and other images of ethnicity. As such, he has been described as a ‘post-cultural hybrid’ or the ‘quintessential postcolonial artist’ by critics as well as the artist himself....


Tom Williams

(b Far Rockaway, NY, Oct 3, 1949).

American photographer and film maker. She graduated with a BFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in 1971, and she moved to New York in 1973. During the early 1970s, she developed an interest in photography as a response to both Conceptual art and Pop art, and her subsequent photographs have featured elaborately staged scenes using dolls, puppets, and dummies that often have an uncanny psychological resonance. She is often grouped within the so-called ‘Pictures Generation’ that also includes such artists as Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman. Like many artists of this generation, she often appropriates media imagery and clichés in an effort to subvert their conventional operations or demonstrate their underlying ideological significance. In recent years, she has turned to film-making with an elaborate musical entitled The Music of Regret.

In many of her early photographs, Simmons photographed dollhouses, occasionally with the dolls in them, to suggest the formulaic illustrations in housekeeping magazines or Dutch paintings of domestic interiors. In many of these works, the subtle disparities in scale and proportion alert the viewer to the artificiality of the world represented and raise questions about the veracity of the photograph itself. At the same time, these works parody the ideals of 1950s domesticity that these toys embody. In this sense, her early work critiques both photographic realism and the stereotypes that such photographs often display. In her ...


Catherine M. Grant

(b London, Aug 26, 1965).

English sculptor, installation artist and film maker. She studied for a BFA at Chelsea College of Art, London (1985–8), and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools, London (1990–3). In the early 1990s she made sculptures, such as Fondant Fancy 2 (1993; see 1993 exh. cat.), by casting household objects in silicone rubber. In this work an ice-cream scoop has been cast in the soft rubber, displayed as a Minimalist object alongside the mould used to make the cast. By concentrating on the form rather than on the function of these everyday utensils, Simpson transformed them into sensual, dysfunctional objects. She also used freezing as a way to turn domestic tools into objects of contemplation. In Sewing Machine (Mormor) (1999; see 1999 exh. cat., p. 7), a sewing machine was installed in a glass refrigeration unit and left to freeze over throughout the period of the exhibition. In the Super-8 film ...


Shannen Hill

(b Vryburg, 1953).

South African painter, printmaker, photographer, installation artist and video artist. She received an BA (1974) and an MA (1976) in Fine Arts from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, and a postgraduate diploma from Portsmouth Polytechnic, UK (1979). Her work has appeared in many exhibitions: the Venice Biennale (1993), the Bienal de Havana (1994, 1997), the Johannesburg Biennale (1995, 1997) and Kwanju Biennale in Korea (1995). She has explored different media and themes since gaining recognition for her high relief oil paintings of the 1980s, but her concerns remain those of process, conceptual dualities, histories told and remembered. Through narrative, allegory, appropriation, parody and punning, her subjects challenge racialized and gendered representations, and reveal history as ever-mediated. In Piling Wreckage Upon Wreckage (1989; Cape Town, N.G.) a black girl sits atop an expansive pile of objects (e.g. silverware, a grand piano, paintings) that denote civilized taste and fill the space to suggest limitlessness and domination. Unlike Western prototypes, the girl is overwhelmed by the debris and cannot control its associative meanings. Siopis continued to question ideological constructions in her work on urban domestic identities of the mid-1990s. Her work of the late 1990s was autobiographical, though firmly entangled within aparteid's complex past. ...


Francis Summers

(b Leeds, Jan 24, 1969).

English video artist and installation artist. She studied in London at Middlesex Polytechnic and the Slade School of Fine Art, where she graduated in 1992. Best described as a multi-media artist, she conceived her major works as large-scale installations combining video and sculpture to create complex emotional narratives about seemingly meaningless events. In one of her earliest videos, Static Steps (1992; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 31), Starr filmed a small paper cut-out figure reacting physically to random static electricity and then voiced over this recording with a precise description of the movements as if they were rehearsed dance steps. This began her practice of re-describing banal and often random aspects of modern life in such a way that they seemed like major events. Her first major installation was Visit to a Small Planet (exh. Zurich, Ksthalle, 1995; see 1998 exh. cat., pp. 7–15), which consisted of videos, photographs, objects and drawings. Basing the complex narrative loosely on a Jerry Lewis film of the same name, she created a work with a dramatic theatrical nature that was difficult to pin down in its references, yet was evocative of a great many emotional states. Her next major installation, ...


Kristina Wilson

(b Cleveland, OH, Feb 8, 1899; d Thetford Hills, VT, July 13, 1986).

American photographer and filmmaker. Steiner was a still photographer and filmmaker who spent most of his career in New York City and rural Vermont. He attended Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, graduating in 1921, and then attended the Clarence White School of Photography in New York City in 1921 and 1922. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he variously worked as a commercial photographer and documentary filmmaker and showed his photographs in a variety of gallery and museum exhibitions. In the 1940s he made an unsuccessful attempt at cultivating a career in Hollywood and returned to New York in 1947. In 1970, he moved away from the city permanently, settling in rural Vermont. In the 1970s and 1980s he devoted himself to photographic studies of nature, especially cloud formations, and worked on a series of avant-garde films collectively entitled The Joy of Seeing.

Although there were no formal classes in photography at Dartmouth College, Steiner published a small book of photographs of the campus upon his graduation (...


Francis Summers

(b Prague, 1955).

Czech sculptor, photographer, video artist and performance artist active in Montreal, Canada. Moving to the West in her teenage years, she attended several Canadian universities before completing her MFA at the University of Toronto in 1982. Working in a variety of media, yet almost always engaging in a dialogue between the body and its environment, she is best known for her wearable sculptures not unlike those of Rebecca Horn. Her early work Measuring Tape Cone (1979; see 1995 exh. cat., p. 50) is a photograph that shows a tightly wound measuring tape covering the artist’s hand and extending into a cone. It is an early instance of her interest in creating objects that interact with the body, offering the possibility of liberation and the threat of containment. These themes are most obviously expressed in Jacket (1992; see 1995 exh. cat., p. 136), a garment in which the arms are sewn together. ...


Ying Sze Pek

(b Munich, June 26, 1966).

German film maker, artist, and theorist. Steyerl trained as a film maker at the Academy of Visual Arts, Tokyo (1987–90), and the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film, Munich (1992–8); and later received a PhD in philosophy from the Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna (2001–3). In the first decade of the 2000s, Steyerl’s work negotiated the boundaries of the documentary film genre, just as her writings theorized the documentary as a mode that operates between fact and fiction, rather than one that constitutes an objective depiction of reality. At this time, European and international biennales such as documenta and Manifesta showcased an increasing number of documentary works in photography and video. These exhibitions would serve as the contemporary art venues at which Steyerl’s films and videos received acknowledgement.

Steyerl’s work often took the form of the essay film, a non-linear exposition that combines disparate footage in such a way that its constructedness is emphasized. Her films incorporated material from popular culture alongside documentary footage shot by the artist. In ...


John-Paul Stonard

(b London, March 4, 1967).

English photographer, film and video artist. On graduating from Goldsmiths’ College, London, in 1990, Taylor-Wood worked predominantly as a photographer, often showing herself in sexually confrontational and challenging roles. In Fuck, Suck, Wank, Spank (C-type print, 1993; see 1997 exh. cat., p. 41) she poses with classical contrapposto, her trousers around her ankles, wearing a T-shirt printed with the title of the work. In 1994 she made her first film, Killing Time (video projection with soundtrack, artist’s priv. col.; see 1997 exh. cat., pp. 194–201), in which four separate screens show ordinary people miming the libretto to Strauss’s opera Elektra. Their fidgeting, self-awareness and boredom when not singing becomes central to the work, suggesting affinities with contemporary ‘slacker’ culture. The themes of isolated subjects, self-conscious exhibitionism and anxiety were explored in subsequent films. In 1995 she made the first of what was to become an extended series of colour photographs, ...


Miguel Rojas Sotelo

(b Valencia, Carabobo, Feb 22, 1969).

Venezuelan film maker, active also in the USA. Téllez used allegory, mental health, perversion, confinement, voyeurism, film history, and the ethics of representation as components for his work. By combining documentary footage with fictionalized narratives, Téllez questioned definitions of normality and pathology. The son of a psychologist, many of his works are created in collaboration with patients of mental illness. Téllez studied at Arturo Michelena School of Arts (1984–6), the Film and TV School at University of Caracas (1987), P.S.1 International Studio Program, New York (1993), Gasworks Studio Program, London (1999), and the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York (1997). In 1999 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Téllez’s works draw attention to stigmas around the mentally ill in Mexico and questions societal definitions of insanity and disability. In Bedlam (2000), visitors sat inside a large wooden bird house to watch a film showing restraint techniques used at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. ...


Catherine M. Grant

(b San Francisco, CA, May 14, 1962).

American video artist, film maker, installation artist and writer. She studied Art History at New York University, graduating with a BA in 1984. She then studied for an MFA at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, graduating in 1990. In 1989 she began to make indices as a way of restructuring and re-presenting narratives, with the private view cards for most of her shows consisting of an index of the content of the exhibition. In one of her first major video installations, Oo Fifi, Five Days in Claude Monet’s Garden (1992; see 1996 exh. cat.), she played with the three colours of video, disrupting the imagery of the flowers that covered the walls of the exhibition space by splitting the image and fitting it back together to reveal its structure. Throughout the 1990s, Thater made installations that challenged assumptions about what is natural, with her subject-matter often featuring domesticated animals performing tricks, as in the large-scale work ...


Anna Bentkowska

(b Płock, Jan 25, 1910; d London, Sept 6, 1988).

British film maker, poet, writer and publisher of Polish birth. He studied physics at the University of Warsaw and architecture at the Warsaw Polytechnic. In 1931 he married the painter Franciszka Weinles (1907–88), his lifelong collaborator on films, children’s books and publishing. In the 1930s they made four experimental films in which forms of lyrical montage replaced narrative structures; these included Europa (1932), inspired by a futurist poem by Anatol Stern (1899–1968). Their innovative technique made use of photograms and collages and was directly influenced by Dadaist typography. Adventures of a Good Citizen (1937) was the fifth and last of their pre-war films and the only one that has survived. In 1935 they founded S.A.F., a co-operative for film makers, and the journal The Artistic Film. They travelled to Paris and London (1936), where they met László Moholy-Nagy. They moved to England in ...


Britta Erickson

(b Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, Nov 27, 1961).

Chinese installation artist. Lin studied art at Capital Normal University, Beijing in 1984. In 1987 she and her husband, the video artist Wang Gongxin (b 1960), moved to New York where, in 1989, she took courses at the Art Students League. In 1995 they returned to Beijing, where the dearth of venues receptive to mixed-media installation art led the couple to stage exhibitions in their home. Lin became one of the most notable Chinese artists creating mixed-media installation art, then a fledgling format in China. In 2001 Lin and Wang established China’s first public venue dedicated to new media art, Loft New Media Art Center, in Beijing.

1995 marked a breakthrough for Lin when she began working with white cotton thread. Her first major work in this signature material, The Proliferation of Thread-Winding (1995; for illustration see 1998 exh. cat.) was exhibited in her home. Lin’s best-known early work, ...