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Britta Erickson

(b Hangzhou, Nov 6, 1957).

Chinese painter, performance, installation and video artist . Zhang studied in the oil painting department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou from 1981 to 1984, graduating with a bachelor's degree. With other recent graduates he formed the Youth Creative Society (1984), which organized the New Space ’85 exhibition of avant-garde art in Hangzhou (1985). In May 1986, with other Youth Creative Society members, Zhang Peili, Geng Jianyi (b 1962), Wang Qiang, Song Ling and Bao Jianfei formed the Pool Society, which created two of the earliest post-Cultural Revolution outdoor installation and performance works (Work No. 1—Yang’s Taiji Series (1986) and Work No. 2—Walkers in a Green Space (1986)).

Zhang’s paintings of the mid-1980s are coolly analytical works, rendered with a limited palette. Emotionally detached, they represent musical instruments; (figures posed in the artificially frozen steps of such activities as playing an instrument); or surgical gloves, a motif introduced following a hepatitis epidemic ...

Article

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. ...

Article

Tabaimo  

Kirstin Ringelberg

[Tabata, Ayako]

(b Hyōgo Prefect., Nov 30, 1975).

Japanese multimedia artist. Daughter of traditional ceramicist Shion Tabata, Tabaimo attended Kyoto University of Art and Design, where her 1999 graduation work was awarded the Kirin Contemporary Award Grand Prize and President Prize. Tabaimo followed this early success with group and solo exhibitions in the Yokohama Triennale (2001), São Paulo Biennale (2002), and venues in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Canada. The bulk of her work consists of hand-drawn images that are then digitally animated, given a personally produced soundtrack, and projected onto a variety of supports often constructed specifically for the work or onto the installation site itself. Equally common is the use of word play in the titles, which provides additional meaning important to a full understanding of the complexity of the work. Tabaimo’s installations emphasize a phenomenological inclusion of the viewer, combining immersive sensory experiences with narratives open-ended enough to allow the viewer to construct individuated meanings. While early works commonly featured specifically Japanese settings as in ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Kaduna, Aug 15, 1967).

Nigerian multimedia artist, active in the USA. Tuggar studied in London before receiving her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute. She completed her MFA at Yale University. Tuggar’s work has been seen as central to the ‘Afro-Futurist’ style and theoretical impulse that gained currency in the mid-1990s as well as to a revitalized and globalized feminist discourse. Afro-futurism denotes the use of the historical past in conjunction with technological innovation to produce aesthetic explorations of the future, fantasy, and possibility for African cultures writ large.

Tuggar is best known for her digitally manipulated and printed collages of her own photographs with found images and text. Often she combined older, sometimes historical images with contemporary scenes and people, conflating past and present and thereby constructing the fantasy aspect of her work. In other instances disparate global spaces converge (Nigeria, the cultural ‘West’, the Middle East), setting up a contemporary investigation of colonialism and post-colonial global realities....

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

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

Margaret Barlow

(b Holyoke, MA, Feb 12, 1943).

American photographer, video artist, conceptual artist, sculptor, draughtsman and painter . He studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA (BFA 1965), and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MFA 1967). During these years he produced Minimalist sculptures and paintings. In the early 1970s he used video and photography, primarily as a means of documenting such conceptual works as Untied On Tied Off (1972), a photograph of the artist’s feet with one shoe on, untied, the other with the shoe tied to his ankle. These documents gave way to photographs that took on greater artistic qualities in terms of composition and technique, while he continued to use concepts and approaches seen in the earlier pieces (particularly irony, humour and satire on both popular culture and the high culture of contemporary art). He was most well known in the 1970s for his photographic and video works featuring his Weimaraner dog, Man Ray. By ...

Article

Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active also in Australia. Ah Xian is a self-taught artist. He grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art on his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art incorporating naked figures were considered at the time to be spiritually polluting, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first travelled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year, after the Tiananmen massacre (4 June 1989), and in ...