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Article

Sarah Urist Green

(b Kabul, June 5, 1973).

Afghan video and performance artist and photographer, active also in the USA. After fleeing Soviet-occupied Kabul with her family in the late 1980s, Abdul lived as a refugee in Germany and India before moving to Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and an MFA at the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. Abdul first returned to a post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2001, where she encountered a place and people transformed by decades of violence and unrest. Since that time, Abdul has made work in Kabul and Los Angeles, staging herself in performances and creating performance-based video works and photography that explore ideas of home and the interconnection between architecture and identity.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Abdul made emotionally intense performance art informed by that of Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović and Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta. At the time unable to travel to Afghanistan, Abdul created and documented performances in Los Angeles that probed her position as Afghan, female, Muslim, a refugee and a transnational artist. In ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 28 August 1952, in Richmond Heights (Missouri).

Installation artist, video artist, photographer.

Kim Abeles was an American Field Service student in 1969 in Utsunomiya, Japan, where a Buddhist priest introduced her to traditional Japanese arts. She returned to the USA and studied painting at Ohio University, receiving a BFA in ...

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

Absalon  

Israeli, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1964, in Tel-Aviv; died 10 October 1993, in Paris.

Installation artist, environmental artist, video artist.

Absalon lived and worked in Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Christian Boltanski.

Absalon produced maquettes for ‘Utopian’ furniture upholstered entirely and uniformly in aseptic white plastic. Totally impractical, his furniture simply represents a desire to mark a departure from everyday convention. There is a strong element of play in some of his work, as in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 24 January 1940, in New York.

Painter, sculptor, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Body Art, Conceptual Art.

Vito Acconci was born in the Bronx, New York and lives and works in Brooklyn. He studied at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and at the University of Iowa. He has taught in various art schools and universities and in particular at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University and the Parsons School of Design in New York....

Article

Frazer Ward

(Hannibal)

(b New York, Jan 24, 1940).

American poet, performance, video, and installation artist, and urban designer. Acconci worked for an MFA degree at the University of Iowa from 1962 to 1964. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing that emphasized the physicality of the page and then began to produce visual work in real space in 1969. He worked as a performance artist from 1969 until 1974. His performance work addressed the social construction of subjectivity. A central work, Seedbed (1972; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), saw Acconci masturbate for six hours a day, hidden under a sloping gallery floor, involving visitors in the public expression of private fantasy. Between 1974 and 1979 he made a series of installations often using video and especially sound, mainly in gallery spaces, examining relations between subjectivity and public space. For Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway) (1976; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), a long table in the gallery and recorded voices suggested a realm of public or communal debate, but the table extended out of the window over the street like a diving board, countering idealism with the realities of city life. In the 1980s Acconci made sculptures and installations, many viewer-activated, invoking basic architectural units and domestic space. ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 15 November 1948, in Des Moines (Iowa).

Environmental artist, video artist, installation artist.

Dennis Adams lives and works in New York and Berlin. Adams' work focuses on the relationship between architecture and images taken from political literature. He creates architectural environments that act as frameworks for text, photographs and other images. These environments, which are either temporary or permanent, are public places. The series of ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 3 August 1955, in Bristol (Pennsylvania).

Painter, sculptor, video artist, installation artist.

Lisa Adams studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1976; Scripps College, Claremont, California, obtaining a BA in 1977; and Claremont Graduate University, receiving an MFA in ...

Article

Uruguayan, 20th century, female.

Born 1928, in Montevideo.

Painter, engraver.

Having taught herself to paint at a very early age, Afamados de Sans enrolled in the engraving course at the national college of fine arts in Montevideo. She participated regularly in the national salon, where she obtained first prize in ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1953, in Troyes.

Sculptor, draughtsman, installation artist, video artist.

Hélène Agofroy lives and works in Paris. The origins of Hélène Agofroy's sculptures can be found in the paintings of the Quattrocento. She is interested in the positioning of objects in Italian frescoes and paintings. She studies their multiple perspectival effects, then incorporates them into her sculpture. From common elements, such as wood, plaster and resin, Agofroy builds light, open worked sculptures of complex geometric design. They invoke overturned hulls, light cradles, or, as in ...

Article

Finnish, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Helsinki.

Born 1959, in Hämeenlinna.

Video installation artist, film producer, photographer, performance artist.

Conceptual Art.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila was a student at the university of Helsinki from 1980 to 1985 and studied film and video at the London College of Painting. In ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Hameenlinna, Finland, 1959).

Finnish film maker and video artist. She studied at Helsinki University (1980–85), the London College of Printing (1990–91) and then at both UCLA and the American Film Institute, Los Angeles (1994–5). In 1990 she was awarded the Paulo Foundation Prize for Young Artist of the Year. After experimentation with photography, installation art and performance art, Ahtila turned to film and video in the 1990s. The three mini-films Me/We, Okay and Gray (1993) each lasting 90 seconds and written and directed by her, were shown separately and as a trilogy, as trailers in cinemas, on television during commercial breaks and in art galleries. They are noted for their use of narrative conventions derived from film, television and advertising, through which they explore questions of identity and group relations. Ahtila’s main preoccupation with narrative and what she terms ‘human dramas’ was continued in the film ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1954, in Pittsburgh.

Video artist, film maker.

Peggy Ahwesh learned her craft by working with the horror director George Romero and as a film programmer at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Inc. She was assistant professor of Film and Electronic Media at Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts, Bard College (...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1968, in Redondo Beach (California).

Installation artist, photographer, film maker. Multimedia.

Doug Aitken is a graduate of the Pasadena Art Center College of Design. He started as art director for Fatboy Slim, Iggy Pop and Barenaked Ladies' video clips. He operates from New York and Los Angeles. His installation ...

Article

Belgian, 20th–21th century, female.

Born 1950, in Brussels, Belgium; died 2015, in Paris.

Installation art, video, film, documentary.

Chantal Akerman was a artist whose films, documentaries, videos, and installations revolve around women’s inner lives and the ever-present possibility of an explosive disruption of the domestic sphere. Akerman was born to Holocaust survivors from Poland, a topic that further inspired and influenced her experimental and feminist films. Akerman passed away in 2015 at the age of 65. Her death is believed to have been a suicide.

Akerman’s rising interest in the unpredictability of the everyday can be seen in her very first film from 1968, Saute Ma Ville (Blow Up My City), which she conceived at the age of 18 after she dropped out of film school. For 13 minutes the viewer watches the artist dance through the kitchen, accompanied by cheerful humming and singing that is brutally silenced when she leans her head against the gas-lit burners and the room explodes....

Article

Janet Marstine

(le Lorraine)

(b North Harvey, nr Chicago, Feb 20, 1897; d Woodstock, VT, Nov 18, 1983).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker and film maker. He was brought up in the suburbs of Chicago and was exposed to art at an early age by his father, Adam Emory Albright (1862–1957), a portrait painter. He passed on to his son the interest in careful draughtsmanship that he had developed from tuition with Thomas Eakins. Ivan’s initial field of interest was architecture, which he studied at Northwestern University, Evanston (1915–16), and at the University of Illinois, Urbana (1916–17). During World War I he served with an Army medical unit, making surgical drawings with great precision. He subsequently decided to become a painter and attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1920–23), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago (1923), and the National Academy of Design, New York (1924). Around this time he began to exhibit regularly.

Albright settled in Chicago in ...

Article

Els Maréchal

(b Brussels, Oct 19, 1927).

Belgian painter, draughtsman, printmaker and film maker. He studied book illustration and typography at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et des Arts Décoratifs from 1944 to 1946. In 1947 he became a member of the Jeune Peinture Belge group and had his first one-man exhibition in the Galerie Lou Cosyn in Brussels. In 1949 he became a founder-member of the Cobra movement after meeting Christian Dotremont. With a number of artist friends he set up a type of research centre and meeting-place in Brussels, the Ateliers du Marais. Towards the end of 1951 he went to Paris, moving to Japan in 1955 to study the art of calligraphy, also making a film called Calligraphie japonaise (1956). He adopted the Oriental manner of painting, whereby the paper is spread on the floor and the artist leans over the work holding the bottle of ink, allowing a greater freedom of movement. In ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 May 1943, in Wichita (Kansas).

Sculptor, environmental artist, performance artist, video artist.

Terry Allen studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, receiving a BFA in 1966. His work is inspired by his travels in Mexico, Thailand, China and Colorado. He has taught at California State University Fresno (...

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 30 October 1971, in Wigan.

Sculptor, film maker, video artist.

Young British Artists.

Darren Almond graduated from Winchester School of Art in 1993. He won the Toshiba Art and Innovations Prize in 1996. He was nominated for the 2005...