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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

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

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

(b Geneva, Feb 25, 1872; d Lausanne, Jan 1, 1938).

Swiss painter and multimedia artist . From 1890/91 she studied under Hugues Bovy (1841–1903) and Denise Sarkissof at the Ecole d’Art in Geneva. A travel scholarship enabled her to study in Munich for a year. From 1904 until the outbreak of World War I Bailly lived in Paris, where she associated with Cubist artists, including Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, Marie Laurencin and Sonia Lewitska (1882–1914). From 1905 to 1926 she exhibited regularly at the Salon d’Automne. From 1906 to 1910 her work was influenced by Fauvism, and from 1910 she became interested in Cubism and Futurism: Equestrian Fantasy with Pink Lady (1913; Zurich, Gal. Strunskaja) is reminiscent of the work of Gino Severini or Franz Marc in its rhythmic movement and planar fragmentation of horses and riders into coloured patterns. Other paintings of this period that are also indebted to these movements include ...

Article

(Davidovich)

(b Kherson, Ukraine, Jan 1, 1888; d France, 1944).

Ukrainian painter and multimedia artist . He studied painting in Odessa, before enrolling at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg in 1905. His proximity in the mid-1900s to the artists of the nascent avant-garde, especially David Burlyuk and Vladimir Burlyuk, was of decisive importance to his stylistic development. Contributing to The Link (Kiev, 1908) and their other exhibitions in Moscow, Kiev and St Petersburg, he supported their stand against Realism and the Academy, favouring a brightly coloured post-Impressionism reminiscent of Georges Seurat and Louis Valtat.

In 1910 Baranoff-Rossiné moved to Paris where he lived for a number of years, exhibiting at the Salon des Indépendants. He also travelled widely in Germany and Scandinavia. He quickly elaborated an experimental style that relied both on Cubism, especially as interpreted by Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger (e.g. his Forge, 1911; Paris, Pompidou), and on the colour theories of Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay (e.g. his ...

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

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

Elaine O’Brien

(b Mombasa, Kenya, Nov 2, 1962).

German multi-media installation and performance artist of Kenyan birth. Von Bonin is known for collaborative, richly associative and perplexing spaces full of artworks that suggest Alice-in-Wonderland narratives and evoke Claes Oldenburg’s playful relational strategies.

Von Bonin attained art world prominence soon after her first New York solo show in 1991. Her puckish neo-feminist conceptual art draws largely upon her experiences and friendships in the Cologne art world and neighborhood art scene. Von Bonin’s work challenges traditional stereotypes of the artist as male genius, creating art alone in his studio. The prestige of the artist’s signature is mocked in ‘solo’ shows such as her exhibition The Cousins (2000), held in Brunswick, which featured a large library installation by the artist Nils Norman (b 1966). Von Bonin arranged many installation events with fellow artists, musicians and writers, in which she played the role of curator-impresario as well as object maker. In her work different media and expressive idioms are re-mixed, the world of popular music in particular being integral to her ...

Article

Susan Best

(b Sydney, Aug 8, 1919; d Sydney, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor, video, installation artist, and sound artist. Brassil received her initial art training at Sydney Teachers College, East Sydney Technical College, and Newcastle Technical College (1937–9). She taught art for 20 years at Campbelltown High School before commencing her exhibiting career in the early 1970s.

Brassil’s first recorded work is Trilogy: Twentieth Century Perception (1969–74; Sydney, U. W. Sydney). Trilogy is composed of three components: Sound Beyond Hearing (900×900×150 mm), Light Beyond Seeing (900×600×150 mm) and Memory Beyond Recall (1050×1050×150 mm). Unlike Brassil’s later works, these three components can be wall mounted. They are beautiful, highly finished, shallow black boxes, and two out of the three are electronic. Memory Beyond Recall has glowing lights veiled behind layers of paper that appear and then dim down and disappear. Light Beyond Seeing has a central lit portion that uses mirrors to suggest an infinitely deep space. The main themes of Brassil’s career—perception, sound, memory, and the transcendental realm—are all signalled in this early work....

Article

Irene V. Small

(Roberto Barbosa )

(b Recife, March 21, 1949).

Irene V. Small

Brazilian multimedia and correspondence artist, film maker, and poet.

His early work of the mid- to late 1960s consisted of drawing, painting, and printmaking as well as poetry influenced by the Brazilian Poesia Concreta and Poema Processo movements. In 1969, the year his drawing O Guerrilheiro was censored by military police, he began to explore experimental practices associated with happenings, conceptual strategies, and new technologies. Beginning in 1970, he teamed up with the artist Daniel Santiago (b 1939), who taught at the Escola de Belas Artes of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, to form ‘Equipe Bruscky–Santiago’. In collaborations that continued for another two decades, the pair realized witty, yet politically subversive actions ranging from environmental and urban interventions and performative events to propositions disseminated by way of telegrams, classified advertisements, and the mail. Bruscky developed independent works as well, often harnessing dark humour and linguistic puns to provoke and defamiliarize perceptions about art and institutionality. In ...

Article

Naomi Beckwith

(b Fulton, MO, Feb 4, 1959).

American sculptor and multimedia artist working in fibre, installation, video, and performance. The youngest of seven sons born into a central Missouri family, Cave demonstrated an early acumen with hand-made objects and throughout his career has created works out of texturally rich materials imbued with cultural meaning. Cave received his BFA (1982) from the Kansas City Art Institute, developing an interest in textiles and, after some graduate-level work at North Texas State University, received his MFA (1989) from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, renowned for their textile, fibre art, and design programmes. While working toward his art degrees, Cave simultaneously studied with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a company known for introducing African American folk traditions into the modern dance vocabulary. Cave moved to Chicago where he became chair of the Department of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute in 1980.

Working across the disciplines of sculpture, textile, dance, and cultural performance, Cave’s oeuvre is based on the human figure; he has produced wearable art as sculptures, arrangements of human and animal figurines as installations, and performance works. Cave’s signature works, the multi-sensory ‘...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Fiona Bradley

(b Wakefield, Oct 21, 1968).

British visual artist and musician. He was brought up in Glasgow from the age of three, and studied in London at the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 1990.

Creed’s work plays on definitions of art and captures the public imagination while also attracting critical acclaim for its thoughtful, accessible approach. His art puts ideas out into the world in a variety of materials; he uses simple things such as planks of wood, stacks of chairs, and pieces of crumpled paper; some professional materials such as acrylic paint and neon; and some more unusual live components such as runners, ballet dancers, musicians, and dogs. He has made sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, videos, songs, events, live performances, and one ballet.

Creed’s works are numbered sequentially (although some numbers are not used), and often have subtitles in the form of descriptive instructions. He first became known for sculptural gestures whose slightness and humorous inadequacy called into question the nature of sculpture: for example, ...

Article

Robin Adèle Greeley

(b Mexico City, 1968).

Mexican sculptor, installation artist, and multimedia artist. A figure in the generation of Mexican artists that came to prominence in the 1990s, Cruzvillegas studied pedagogy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1986–1990). Informally, he also studied caricature with Rafael “El Fisgón” Barajas (1985) and with Gabriel Orozco in the Taller de los viernes (“Friday workshop,” 1987–1991). In 2007 Cruzvillegas began developing the aesthetic platform of autoconstrucción (“self-building”). Rooted in the ad hoc building tactics prevalent in squatter settlements on the outskirts of megacities, his autoconstrucción works inventively repurpose found detritus to produce a materialist critique of object experience in the 21st-century’s global consumer economy.

Cruzvillegas’s early artistic ventures were informed by, among other factors, his participation in the Taller de los Viernes; his engagement with the underground music, political caricature, and comic book scenes; and his encounters with artists and curators committed to opening Mexico’s then relatively insular art world to international ideas. At the informal Taller de los viernes run by Orozco, Cruzvillegas explored artists and ideas not readily available in Mexico at the time, assimilating everything from Robert Filliou’s ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Derry, March 26, 1959).

Irish photographer, video artist and installation artist. He studied Fine Art at Ulster Polytechnic (1978–81). Influenced by the work of Hamish Fulton, Barbara Kruger, Richard Long and Jenny Holzer, Doherty’s work in the late 1980s often combined black-and-white topographical images overlaid with words and phrases or juxtaposed with texts. These first demonstrated his interest in the ambiguous and contradictory meanings that images can suggest; this has been fed by his sustained engagement with the political conflicts in Northern Ireland and focused by a specific interest in his home town of Derry. The diptych Stone Upon Stone (1986; see 1998 exh. cat., pp. 10–11) suggested a politicized parody of land art in its depiction of a river in Derry which divided opposing sides. Against the background of increasing controversy over media coverage of the troubles in the late 1980s, Doherty began to use images from television and newspapers, and in the early 1990s he began to use video, slide projections and sound. The slide installation ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(Karima)

(b London, July 3, 1963).

English sculptor, painter, draughtsman, video artist and installation artist. She studied at Maidstone College of Art (1983–6), and at the Royal College of Art in London (1987–9). In January 1993 she embarked on a six-month collaborative project with the artist Sarah Lucas, The Shop, in the Bethnal Green district of London, selling art objects in the style of bric-a-brac. Her first solo exhibition, My Major Retrospective, (London, White Cube Gal., 1993), provided the public platform for her subsequent success. Emin’s aptitude for self-promotion was demonstrated by the opening, in 1995, of the Tracey Emin Museum in South London, which she ran as a showcase for her work until 1998. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999.

Emin achieved notoriety both in the art world and in the popular press as the enfant terrible of British art, a result not only of her outlandish behaviour but also of her starkly confessional work, based on an unorthodox upbringing and turbulent private life. In ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

Swiss sculptors, photographers, video artists and installation artists. Peter Fischli (b Zurich, 8 June 1952) studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Urbino (1975–6) and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna (1976–7). David Weiss (b Zurich, 21 June 1946) studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Zurich (1963–4), and the Kunstgewerbeschule, Basel (1964–5). Their first collaborative venture was a series of ten colour photographs, Wurstserie (‘sausage series’, 1979; Minneapolis, MN, Walker A. Cent.), depicting small scenes constructed with various types of meat and sausage and everyday objects, with titles such as At the North Pole and The Caveman. Such playful use of common objects became central to their work, an aspect of their disdain for what they term ‘Bedeutungskitsch’ (the kitsch of heavy meaning and overwrought rhetoric). Der Lauf der Dinge (‘The Flow of Things’, 16mm colour film transferred to laser disc, 30 mins, ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Geneva, June 24, 1961).

Swiss sculptor, video artist and installation artist. From the early 1990s the luxury shopping bag formed one of the central motifs of her work. Her choice of such a fetishistic object was prompted by the wider debates of fashion, luxury consumption and gender representation raised by her work. Many of her installations involved the presentation of unaltered found (or, more accurately, ‘bought’) objects within a gallery context, a strategy traceable to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. The dialogues set up refer not only to the world of fashion, but also to the masculine aesthetic of certain ‘modern masters’; Fleury’s strategy involved recasting this aesthetic in the superficial yet seductive materials of contemporary fashion. Composition in the Square with Red Corner (Painting No. 3) (acrylic, synthetic fur, wood, 1×1 m, 1992; courtesy Geneva, Gal. A. & Pub.), is an ambivalent homage to Piet Mondrian, revisiting his painterly format but substituting the primary-coloured sections with synthetic fur. The use of artificial fur to cover surfaces within her multi-media installations throughout the 1990s formed part of an exploration of gender ambivalence, suggesting an increasing intermingling of male and female identities. The confusion of traditional aesthetic categories of ‘hard’ masculine and ‘soft’ feminine can be seen in her evolving work ...

Article

Russell Gullette

(b Johannesburg, May 1968).

South African installation, performance, and video artist and photographer. Geers is part of a generation of African artists who emerged during the global expansion of the art world in the 1990s. Born into a white working-class family, he studied fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from 1985 to 1987. Geers was exiled for refusing to serve in the South African Defence Force in 1989. With the threat of imprisonment removed after the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in 1990 he returned to Johannesburg. Then in 2000 he moved to Brussels.

Geers has described his artistic position as a TerroRealist. His work features everyday, vernacular materials such as beer bottles, razor wire, pornography, neon signs, and expletives such as ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’. He employed these materials as a means to challenge various manifestations of power, whether state terror, working-class oppression, history, or, at his most poetic, language....

Article

Elaine O’Brien

(b Bad Oldesloe, Nov 27, 1948).

German sculptor, photographer, film maker, video artist and collagist. Genzken attended the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg between 1969 and 1971, the Universität der Künste in Berlin from 1971 to 1973, the Universität zu Köln between 1973 and 1975, and from 1973 to 1977 she studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf as a student of Gerhard Richter, to whom she was married from 1982 to 1995. Genzken was part of the post-war generation of West German artists, including Blinky Palermo and Sigmar Polke, who identified with American internationalism.

A trip to New York in 1977 marked the beginning of a long fascination with the city and Genzken’s signature architectonic oeuvre. Noted for its exceptional range of materials, methods and formal vocabulary, the coherence of Genzken’s production—both in individual artworks and the sequence of series—is largely found in the sustained dialogical tension that links the Minimalist rationalism of New York skyscrapers with the anti-rationalist carnival of real life as lived in the cosmopolitan city. Her first series of sculptures (...