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Charles Green

(b Freetown, Sierra Leone, Dec 14, 1965).

Australian installation artist, born in Sierra Leone. Resident in Australia from 1972, Piccinini graduated in 1988 from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a BA and then from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, in 1991 with a BA (Painting). She produced images and objects that embodied imaginary evolutionary jumps and mutations (see, for example, The Young Family; see image page for more views). To produce these, she worked in a succession of new, novel materials and media: from synthetic resins, plastics and silicone developed for special effects in movies to the digital manipulation used in commercial photography and animation. In her 1997 series of photographs, Protein Lattice, a naked female plays with a large hairless rat with an enlarged human ear growing from its back. The work combined the highly contrived language of mainstream fashion photography, brightly lit, glossy and free of imperfection, with an animal that appeared to be one of the hybrid clones then emerging from laboratories. Both glossy-haired model and mutant rat appear equally artificial and equally indebted to technology....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Aldershot, Hants, Sept 12, 1961).

English sculptor and video artist. He originally studied for a degree in Geology at Exeter University (1980–83), and shortly after developed an interest in ceramics. He went on to complete an MFA at the Royal College of Art, London (1990–93), where he switched his attention in the final year from ceramics to sculpture. On graduating he was a prizewinner in the Whitworth Young Contemporaries exhibition in Manchester; in 1994 he had his first solo exhibition at Jibby Beane, London, and had work selected for the BT New Contemporaries exhibition. His work at that time focused strongly on an exploration of soap as a cleansing agent paradoxically derived from ‘dirty’ materials such as coal. The social forces gathered around a seemingly innocuous substance were further investigated in works such as Instrument of Hygiene (Case 1) (fibreglass, leatherette covering, velvet lining, with wash basin and fittings, 900×500×430 mm, ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Reinthal, Switzerland, June 21, 1962).

Swiss video artist and installation artist. Her unusual first name comes from the joining of her given name with her nickname Pipi, after the storybook character Pippi Longstocking. She trained at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna, studying commercial art, illustration and photography (1982–6). At this time she was making animated cartoons and building stage sets for bands, which influenced her later practice with its MTV aesthetic and fast, colourful scenes. She then went on to study audio-visual design at the Schule für Gestaltung, Basle, graduating in 1988 and later settling in Zurich. Her video I’m Not a Girl Who Misses Much (1986; see 1996 exh. cat.) demonstrates her interest in stretching the technical possibilities of the medium, for example by distorting the picture or by speeding up and slowing down the image, so that the medium becomes integral to the theme rather than simply a method of documentation. In this work Rist sings and screams the title refrain, echoing the opening lines of the Beatles song, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’, like a pretty pop icon pushed over the edge into hysteria. Rist’s work tends not to have a strong narrative; instead the images and sounds produce an open-ended, intense situation, with the protagonist (often herself) presented as a warped version of the glamorous, vacant girls of advertising. She also incorporates her videos into installations, as in ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Kevin Mulhearn

(b Cape Town, 1964).

South African installation and multimedia artist. Searle received her MA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 1995. Her work has regularly addressed the complex politics of identity in South Africa and the deep and contested historical roots that inflect its contemporary manifestations. She has often used her own body in her work and dealt with themes connected in some way to her own complicated heritage, but she has typically produced work that also speaks to broader issues of both local and global import.

Much of Searle’s art has grappled with the history of South Africa’s ‘coloured’ people, a multiracial population that was the outcome of centuries of cohabitation between indigenes, Europeans, and imported slave labour. In her photographic series Colour Me (1998–2000), Searle covered her skin with such spices as clove and turmeric, allowing her to acknowledge the trade in these commodities, which prompted European settlement on the southern tip of Africa in the 17th century and brought slaves to the region from present-day Malaysia and Indonesia. The dual video projection ...

Article

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 (...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Brooklyn, NY, Aug 13, 1960).

African American photographer and multimedia artist. Simpson attended the High School of Art and Design then received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York City in 1982 and her MFA in Visual Arts from University of California, San Diego in 1985. She focused on photography for both degrees. While still in graduate school she started complicating the presumed transparency of photography, experimenting with the clarity of the narrative, the deconstruction of narrative as associated with photography and an investigation of the transparency of photography. She would incorporate images of a figure turned away from the viewer alongside text that commented on the experience of women of colour in the patriarchy, as evidenced in The Waterbearer (1996; New York, Sean and Mary Kelly col.). A lone female figure pours water from two containers and the text at the bottom proclaims, ‘She Saw Him Disappear By The River, They Asked Her To Tell What Happened, Only To Discount Her Memory’, as an indication of the way the woman’s voice and experience is disregarded....

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

Caleb Kelly

Sound has always been and will continue to be a crucial part of art. It is present as content (ranging from a soundtrack to a video to the muttering of a performance artist), in the mind of the audience (the imagined sounds within a landscape painting), and in the environment in which the work is experienced (from the sounds of other audience members to the noise caused by the gallery café). Sound, it can be argued, has become increasingly prominent within our environment since the beginning of the 20th century, indeed it is hard to imagine a more noisy century. Alongside industrial developments, cities expanded into colossal and noisy places. The arts joined in the racket wholeheartedly, embracing noise as a fully fledged element of the avant-garde and subsequently within experimental and ‘post-modernist’ practices. While it can be argued that many art historical texts were written in silence, the actualities of art are never soundless. This entry is specifically focused on sound in visual art. That is, it will engage in the idea that sound played an increasingly vital role in visual art throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Major figures in the trajectory of 20th-century art were drawn to music and sound, as well as engaging in often noisy activities: from the Futurists and Dadaists to the Situationists, from video art to installation art, and from performance art to socially engaged practices such as relational aesthetics. When art is accompanied by sound, the field is expanded beyond the bounded realms of pure visuality....

Article

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, ...

Article

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. ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aaris Sherin

(b Concord, MA, June 13, 1959).

American typographer and graphic designer. While studying with Charles Bigelow (b 1945) at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, she assisted him and his partner Kris Holmes (b 1950) with the creation of digital type in their studio, Bigelow and Holmes. As one of a group of hand-chosen students, and with a referral and help from Holmes, she went on to earn an MSc in digital typography from Stanford University. As a pioneer in digital type design, Twombly was among the first to create whole digital typefaces that were based on historically important type that had been used for generations in traditional printing. Her first typeface was Mirarea (1984), which won first prize at the International Typeface Competition sponsored by Morisawa and Company Ltd of Japan. She joined Adobe Systems as a part-time employee and became one of only three full-time in-house designers in ...

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. ...