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, ...
(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 (...
(b Bethlehem, 1970).
Palestinian conceptual artist. Jacir’s works use a variety of media including film, photography, installation, performance, video, sound, sculpture and painting. Jacir was raised in Saudi Arabia and attended high school in Rome, Italy. She received her BA from the University of Dallas, Irving, TX in 1992, her MFA from the Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN in 1994, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program from 1998 to 1999. She became a professor at the International Academy of Art, Palestine in Ramallah in 2007. Jacir’s conceptual works explore the physical and psychological effects of social and political displacement and exile, primarily how they affect the Palestinian community. Her work investigated the impact of Israeli action on the Palestinian people and countered representations of Palestinians in the press as primarily militant. Jacir often collaborated with members of the Palestinian community, both local and international, in the creation of her works....
Reviser Jean Robertson
(b Berck, Nov 30, 1943).
French multi-media artist. Messager studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (1962–6). Her wide-ranging, idiosyncratic works resist categorization. From the beginning of her career, she employed numerous materials and methods (including painting, sewing and knitting, photography, writing, taxidermy, and installation). She freely mixed high and low forms, objects, and references from visual culture with her own sewn, drawn, and painted images, objects, and texts. Her content is a mixture of the real and fictional. Since her first one-person exhibition at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich (1973), Messager was a sought after artist in Europe and globally. She participated in numerous influential exhibitions, art fairs, biennials, and one-person exhibitions over decades, including representing France at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005), where her mechanized installation Casino (2005) won the Lion d’Or.
Inspiration in Messager’s early career came from, among other sources, ...
Catherine M. Grant
Reviser Jennifer Way
(b Tokyo, Feb 21, 1967).
Japanese photographer, video artist, performance artist, sculptor, installation artist and painter. Mori studied fashion at the Bunka Fashion Institute in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988 and worked part-time as a model before moving to London to study at the Shaw School of Art (1988–9) and the Chelsea College of Art (1989–92), where she earned a BFA. In New York she participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992–3). In 1994 Mori returned to Tokyo and began making large digital photographs and videos in which she appears as a ‘shaman, mermaid, cyber-geisha and visitor from the future’ (Johnson, p. 56). Subsequently, she assembled teams of stylists, photographers, computer imagists, sound technicians and fabricators along with musicians and scientists to create immersive multimedia installations consisting of digital photography, music, video, cinematic spatial effects, abstract biomorphic sculptural forms, paintings and scent, engaging users and responding to data and environmental stimuli. She exhibited her art in biennale exhibitions throughout the world, for example, in Singapore, Venice, Shanghai, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul and Lyon. From ...
Deborah A. Middleton
(b Fort Wayne, IN, Dec 6, 1941).
American conceptual artist. Recognized as one of the most influential, innovative, and provocative 20th century American artists, Nauman extended the media of sculpture, film, video, photography, and sound with performance and spatial explorations. Nauman attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1960 to 1964, with early studies in mathematics and physics, which broadened to the study of art under Italo Scanga (1932–2001). He received a master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Davis in 1966 under William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson, Frank Owen (b 1939), and Stephen Kaltenbach (b 1940) and honorary degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (1989) and California Institute of Art (2000). In 1966 he began to teach at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Nauman’s interactive artworks and performances explore the syntactical nuances of language, text, and figurative gesture to create material culture and in-between places, which often result in a heightened sense of physical and emotional awareness. Nauman’s artistic explorations of spatial perception, bodily consciousness, physical and mental activity, and linguistic manipulation were demonstrated in interactive spatial compositions that accentuated various relationships between the human body and built environments. Early works included body castings and holographic self-images with subsequent works situating the viewer within their own mental and bodily perceptions. In ...
(b Jalapa, Veracruz, April 27, 1962).
Mexican sculptor, photographer and video artist. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City (1981–4) and at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid (1986–7). In 1995 he worked in Berlin on a Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) grant. On his arrival in Berlin, Orozco bought a yellow Schwalbe (Swallow) motor scooter. This featured in a series of 40 Cibachrome photographs, Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe (1995; London, Tate), each of which shows this scooter paired with the identical models he came across in Berlin. The Schwalbe appears as a symbol of the recently defunct East Germany, where it had been produced, but also as a more general symbol of obsolescence. The strategy of reframing found objects (often as banal as pieces of fruit) is central to Orozco’s work, providing a connection between public and private spheres. This reframing is usually based on formal alignment or coincidence, for instance with ...
(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. ...
(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....
(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 ...
[ Butter, Arlene Hannah ]
(b New York, March 7, 1940; d Houston, TX, Jan 28, 1993).
American photographer, performance artist, video artist, sculptor and teacher . Wilke earned a BFA and a teaching certificate from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia (1956–61). She taught at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School in Plymouth Meeting, PA, until 1965, and then moved to New York City where she taught at White Plains High School, just north of the city, until 1970. From 1972 to 1991 she taught sculpture at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Wilke is well known for examining stereotypes surrounding sexuality, femininity and feminism through the use of her body, language and visual punning.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wilke created forms that were abstract but highly suggestive of female genitalia, with layered and folded flower-like shapes, modelled from clay, chewing gum, kneaded erasers, laundry lint and latex (e.g. Needed-Erase-Her , 1974). Exhibited in groups on the floor or on the wall, in an ordered and repetitious manner that recalls Minimalism, the forms are organic and sexual—suggestive of reproduction and procreation. In the 1970s Wilke began to use her own body in a series of performances, videos and photographs that confront erotic representations of the female body and cultural stereotypes about female sexuality. Her video ...