Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
13 Dec 2006 to 25 Feb 2007
Vito Acconci, Samuel Beckett, Dara Birnbaum, Peter Campus, Stan Douglas, Valie Export, Jean-Luc Godard, Douglas Gordon, Dan Graham, Johan Grimonprez, Clarisse Hahn, Gary Hill, Pierre Huyghe, Isaac Julien, Thierry Kuntzel, Matthieu Laurette, Mark Leckey, Chris Marker, Bruce Nauman, Aernout Mik, Bruce Nauman, Marcel Odenbach, João Onofre, Tony Oursler, Nam June Paik, Walid RAAD/The Atlas Group, Martial Raysse, Zineb Sedira, Bill Viola, Cui Xiuwen
Centre Pompidou Video Art: 1965-2005 traced the evolution of moving imagery in contemporary art and explored the aesthetic possibilities of video as a medium. It comprised of installations, projections and works screened on monitors, together with archival documents that related to the production of video works.
The exhibition was drawn from the collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which has been exhibiting, collecting and interpreting multimedia art work since the 1970s. It featured 35 works – among them, screen-based work by artists such as Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman and Bill Viola who have greatly influenced the development of video, as well as works by younger artists including Cui Xiuwen, Douglas Gordon, Clarisse Hahn and Isaac Julien, that explore diverse directions including quoting from the history of cinema, reworking its conventions and expressing subjective points of view through fly-on-the-wall documentary techniques.
Video emerged in the 1970s as a cheaper and more practical alternative to film. Like television, it has been available to mass audiences from the beginning, making it appealing to artists seeking a wide forum for their work. The medium dominated the decade of the 1980s, when the term ‘new media’ was coined to refer to video-as-art.
In the early years, video was readily adopted by many artists as a means of documenting performances. Others used it to critique the images and content of the mass media. During the 1970s, many artists incorporated the viewer as an active participant within the art work. In the 1980s and 1990s new media evolved toward installation by using devices that included adopting cinema-style narratives, spatial manipulations and immersive environments. Social and political commentary was an important subject for art works produced during the early period of video’s development, and it features again in recent works.
This exhibition was divided into five sections that followed the medium’s historical development. The chronological ordering reflected the influence of rapid technological advance on the medium. The artists had not merely absorbed these changes in the equipment, format and capabilities of video but explored their impact – for example by using surveillance, slow motion, feedback and closed-circuit effects.
This exhibition also presented newer work by younger artists that examined the various ways in which video mediates social relationships between people and expresses family, group and cultural identity. While historical developments in new media art could be traced through the exhibition, the groupings of the works also reflected inter-generational dialogues, connections and patterns of influence between the artists.
Barcelona Caixa Forum: 28 September 2005 – 8 January 2006
Taipei Fine Arts Museum: 28 April – 23 July 2006
Miami Art Central: 19 September – 10 December 2006
Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne: 15 March – 27 May 2007
Museo de Chada, Lisbon: October 2007 – January 2008
The Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Cyprus: March – May 2008
Honolulu Academy of Arts: June – September 2008
Musée Fabre, Montpellier: October 2008 – January 2009