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Article

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 ...

Article

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, ...

Article

Elizabeth K. Mix

The influence of television on art can be considered broadly in terms of context (the role of television in contemporary culture), media (both the hardware of the monitor and the nature of the analogue, and later digital, signal), content (various genres of television programming), and viewing practices, such as channel surfing. Artists’ leveraging of television began with analogue television in the 1960s, accomplishing post-modern blurring of boundaries between high art and popular culture, as well as removing a measure of control from commercial galleries. Sony’s Portapak camera, introduced in 1967, helped the development of Video art and stimulated interest in television for artistic inspiration.

Because it lacked a history circumscribed by Western white European hierarchies, video was particularly attractive to alienated groups, including feminists, who fomented social protest in the 1960s and who sought an artistic language without many rules. At the same time, television technology evolved rapidly, and some artists deliberately sought out aspects that were becoming outmoded, which they viewed as potentially more artistic because they were no longer part of a common experience. Examples include the use of older versions of television cases after they were no longer fashionable and, later, the continued use of analogue signals after the invention of digital television. In such practices, artists followed the ideas of Canadian media theorist ...

Article

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. ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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, ...

Article

Jasmina Tumbas

[Antonio Gotovac Lauer]

(b Sombor, Serbia, Feb 9, 1937; d Zagreb, Croatia, June 24, 2010).

Serbian experimental and documentary filmmaker, performance, body, and conceptual artist. Gotovac was a student at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb from 1955–56. From an early age, Gotovac was an autodidactic scholar of film and a habitual visitor of the cinema, carefully studying all the aspects of filmmaking, including sound, structure, and film direction. He began to make his experimental films in 1962, most of which paid homage to popular and avant-garde films, as well as honouring musical virtuosos such as Billie Holiday and Glenn Miller. One of the earliest examples was his structuralist Trilogy from 1964, Straight Line (Stevens – Duke), Circle (Jutkevic – Count), and Blue Rider (Godard – Art). Inspired by Kurt Schwitters’ Merz collages, which Gotovac first saw in 1959 in Zagreb, the artist collected materials for years and began to make collages out of train tickets, product wrappers, magazine advertisements, and the like during 1964 and 1965. In ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Tokyo, April 5, 1967).

Japanese sculptor, installation and video artist . Torimitsu received a BFA in sculpture at Tama Art University (1994) and, soon after her university graduation, she completed Miyata Jiro, a life-size robot of a stereotypical Japanese businessman, and made it crawl on the pavements of various districts in Tokyo. Perhaps because of its candid critique of Japanese corporate culture, businessmen in Marunouchi district pretended not to look at the robot, while it attracted large crowds elsewhere. In order to study varying reactions to her robot in different social settings, Torimitsu moved to New York in 1996, to participate in the P.S.1 International Program. For the American premier of Miyata Jiro that year, on Wall Street and near the Rockefeller Center, Torimitsu dressed as a nurse to redirect the robot’s movement or recharge its battery. Her New York performances were so well received that Torimitsu subsequently acquired opportunities to do the same in Amsterdam, Graz, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney....

Article

Jasmina Tumbas

(b Sümeg, Hungary, Nov 5, 1937).

Hungarian painter, author of artist books, filmmaker, mail artist, conceptual and action artist, and participant in the Fluxus movement. Tót began his studies at the Hungarian Art Academy in 1958, but was forced out of the program because his artworks diverged from Socialist Realism, which was institutionalized in socialist Hungary at the time. He continued his studies at the Budapest College of Applied Arts from 1959–65, and soon distinguished himself with his informel and abstract expressionist painting style. In the late 1960s Tót began to exhibit with the Hungarian experimental group Iparterv (1968–69). By 1970, he abandoned painting and pronounced that his work had arrived at a ‘ZERO (0)’ point, a concept that signified his deliberate turn towards conceptualism, action, Fluxus, and Correspondence art. ‘Nothing ain’t nothing’, the use of 0s, and a declaration of ‘TÓTalJOYS’ became leitmotifs for his conceptual artworks, poster actions, telegrams, postcards, rubber stamps, T-shirts, and artist books. Tót frequently used a photograph of himself smiling or doing everyday things (standing, walking) in combination with proclamations of joy about such seemingly mundane actions, such as ...

Article

Celia Stahr

(b Phoenix, AZ, Aug 26, 1954).

Native American (Seminole–Muskogee–Diné (Navajo)) photographer, video and installation artist . While living on a Navajo reservation in the 1960s, Tsinhnahjinnie was prompted to think about the power of images after looking at A House of Human Bondage, which showed the poor living conditions that black South Africans were subjected to under the apartheid system, photographs that reminded her of the bleak existence of Native Americans. This led her to attend the Institute of American Indian Art from 1975 to 1978. She received a BFA from the California College of the Arts (1981) and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine (2002). She went on to teach at the University of California, Davis.

Realizing that Native Americans had been defined by photographs taken by non-Natives, Tsinhnahjinnie wanted to create photographs of Native Americans from an insider’s perspective; to reclaim her own culture, history and identity. In 1988...

Article

Mick Hartney

Term used to describe art that uses both the apparatus and processes of television and video. It can take many forms: recordings that are broadcast, viewed in galleries or other venues, or distributed as tapes or discs; sculptural installations, which may incorporate one or more television receivers or monitors, displaying ‘live’ or recorded images and sound; and performances in which video representations are included. Occasionally, artists have devised events to be broadcast ‘live’ by cable, terrestrial or satellite transmission. Before video production facilities were available, some artists used television receivers and programmes as raw material, which they modified or placed in unexpected contexts. In 1959 the German artist Wolf Vostell included working television sets in three-dimensional collage works. In the same year Nam June Paik began to experiment with broadcast pictures distorted by magnets. He acquired video recording equipment in 1965, after moving to New York, and began to produce tapes, performances and multi-monitor installations (e.g. ...

Article

Joan Kee

Hong Kong-based interdisciplinary group of artists . Derived from a compound of the words video and montage, Videotage was founded in 1985 by artists May Fung (b 1952; see fig. ), Ellen Pau (b 1961; see fig. ), Wong Chi Fai and Comyn Mo to facilitate local collaborative art projects. Prior to its formation, the Phoenix Cine Club was Hong Kong’s main outlet for film-based art, especially works based on Super-8 film in the 1970s. Artists, however, began the transition to video when the commercial demand for Super-8 film diminished and home video was concurrently introduced into the consumer market. Initially, Videotage sponsored screenings of videos in the facilities of the local theatre collective, Zuni Icosahedrone. As a result, some artists such as May Fung, Ellen Pau and Comyn Mo began to explore intersections between theatre and video-based installations ( see fig. ).

Videotage later modified its purpose by fostering the study and production of multiple kinds of media-based art forms. From ...

Article

Rina Arya

[ William ]

(b New York, Jan 25, 1951).

American video and sound installation artist. Viola employed electronic sound and image technology to create an extensive range of works such as videotapes, architectonic video installations, music performances, and flat-panel video pieces. He was central in establishing the contemporaneity of video art and in expanding its possibilities through his innovative explorations of content and form. Viola completed his BFA in Experimental Studies from Syracuse University in 1973. From 1973 to 1980 he performed with the composer David Tudor as a member of his group Rainforest, later called Composers Inside Electronics. During the 1970s Viola worked as technical director of production at Art/Tapes/22, which was a pioneering video art studio in Florence. From 1976 to 1980 he was artist-in-residence at WNET Thirteen Television Laboratory in New York. In 1980 he was awarded a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship and lived in Japan for a year and a half where he studied Zen Buddhism, which would inspire his work....

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....

Article

Grischka Petri

(b Leverkusen, nr Cologne, Oct 14, 1932; d Berlin, April 3, 1998).

German painter, sculptor, décollagist, composer, video artist, and performance artist. He was one of the fathers of the European Happening movement. Vostell studied typography, lithography, and painting in Cologne, Wuppertal, Paris, and Düsseldorf (1950–58). In 1959 he married Mercedes Guardado Olivenza in Cáceres, Spain. Early in his career he discovered Décollage , a technique of cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing pieces of an image. His spelling of the term, dé-coll/age, underlined the term’s dialectical implications of destruction and creation. In the 1960s he worked with chemicals to transfer the process to photography, video, and film, turning it into an all-encompassing strategy of image deconstruction, often within the iconographic framework of violence and sexuality as communicated by mass media.

Vostell’s combined décollage with car parts and television sets, being one of the first artists using such a device as part of a sculpture in 1958. In 1962 he joined the ...

Article

Mary Chou

(b Stockton, CA, Nov 26, 1969).

American silhouettist, printmaker, painter, installation artist and film maker . At the age of 13, Walker moved from California to Stone Mountain, GA, when her father, the painter Larry Walker (b 1935), accepted a teaching position at Georgia State University. She received her BFA at the Atlanta College of Art, GA, in 1991 and her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, in 1994. In 2001 she began teaching at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York.

Walker’s work explores issues of race, gender, sexuality and identity through paper cut-out silhouettes of scenes depicting slavery and plantation life in the ante-bellum South. Often life-size and spanning an entire wall or room, Walker illustrated racial stereotypes with exaggerated representations of mammies, pickaninnies and sambos, alongside white southern belles and gentleman engaged in acts of violence, torture and sex (e.g. Consume , 1998). Using the silhouette, a 19th-century craft created mostly for the middle class, Walker initially seduces viewers with a polite, delicate and feminine veneer; she compared the technique of silhouettes to the nature of stereotypes themselves, in which the complexities of an individual or situation are reduced and simplified into easily identifiable forms. As all figures are depicted in black or in shadows, racial identity can only be approximated by their profile or actions. As a result, viewers create their own narrative, thus implicating themselves in the creation and perpetuation of these stereotypes....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Chigwell, Essex, May 25, 1959).

English painter, sculptor and video artist. He studied in London at the Chelsea School of Art (1978–81) and Goldsmiths’ College (1983–5). From the mid-1980s his work has addressed the traditions and values of British society, its class system and organized religion. The range of approaches he has adopted reflects his wish to have a broad appeal and highlights his roots in a tradition of British left-wing thought. In the early 1990s he began using a personal enthusiasm for horse racing as a theme through which to explore issues of ownership and pedigree. Race Class Sex (oil on canvas, four parts, each 2.3×3 m, London, Saatchi Gal.), consists of four highly finished renderings of thoroughbred race-horses. As well as evoking the equestrian portraiture of George Stubbs, these works also direct attention toward issues of identity and the inheritance of social structures. This thematic culminated in A Real Work of Art...

Article

Marco Livingstone

[Warhola, Andrew ]

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Aug 6, 1928; d New York, Feb 22, 1987).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, film maker, writer, and collector. After studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1945 to 1949, he moved to New York and began working as a commercial artist and illustrator for magazines and newspapers. His work of the 1950s, much of it commissioned by fashion houses, was charming and often whimsical in tone, typified by outline drawings using a delicate blotted line that gave even the originals a printed appearance; a campaign of advertisements for the shoe manufacturers I. Miller & Sons in 1955–6 (Kornbluth, pp. 113–21) was particularly admired, helping to earn him major awards from the Art Directors Club.

Warhol continued to support himself through his commercial work until at least 1963, but from 1960 he determined to establish his name as a painter. Motivated by a desire to be taken as seriously as the young artists whose work he had recently come to know and admire, especially Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, he began by painting a series of pictures based on crude advertisements and on images from comic strips. These are among the earliest examples of ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Nieuwer Amstel, nr Amsterdam, March 12, 1959).

Dutch photographer, video artist and installation artist. She trained as a sculptor at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam between 1987 and 1990. In 1992 she began to use video and film loops, often incorporating them into larger installations, using the monitor or projections as sculptural objects within the gallery space. These looped pieces use repetition to undermine any narrative or resolution in the action, as in Handstand (1992; see 1995 exh. cat.) where a girl performs a handstand against a wall over and over again. The viewer is held in a state of anticipation by the possibility of some kind of climax, recalling the early video work of artists such as Bruce Nauman. In Warmerdam’s installation Untitled (1994; see D. Birnbaum, p. 64), a room is filled with helium balloons attached to cans of soft drink; the balloons have phrases such as ‘I Love You’ written on them, their cloying sentiment attached to the artificial sweetness of the drinks. Here the objects function in a similar way to the video loops, generating an atmosphere that is both celebratory and disturbing because of the lack of narrative. In the installation ...