HUB, Gallery12 – New Media, Belgrade, Serbia
The exhibition „The Pictured Self“ focuses on the self-presentation of Swiss artists working at the interface between video art and performance.
Small but beautiful, this historical overview presents twenty years of video art in ten exemplary positions. It was especially in Switzerland in the 1980s that a fledgling video art scene started to spread its wings, which led to the development of specialised training centres benefitting some of the artists of our exhibition. I have chosen out of a great number of available works and from a personal point of view works I consider real gems hidden among the well-known main works, and sometimes they even represent keyworks in the oeuvre of the respective artist. For all their differences – ranging from poetic reflections of the self to spontaneous performative sequences and restless or complex choreographies – the works can be divided into four groups: Some are based on the genre of the music clip (Com&Com, Pipilotti Rist), others analyse the relationship with the surrounding space (Yan Duyvendak, Andrea Loux, Chantal Michel). A third group chooses playfulness to create a particular effect (Bernhard Huwiler, Katja Schenker, Roman Signer), and finally, there are two self-portraits created with special cameras, allowing the viewer an unusual insight into the „self“ (Franticek Klossner, Dominik Stauch).
All the works have in common that it is not the artist’s performance or action that is meant for the public but their medial transformation into video art. The final works are not documentations of performances; the performances find their intended form in the video. The exhibition thus sheds light on a small but – being close to the artists – important aspect of video art and illustrates it with selected works. Also, the show does not leave one with a feeling of „medial overkill“ as some exhibitions that stage their works in blackboxes do. Furthermore, the similar technology and the reduced exhibition architecture create a certain homogenity, which facilitates readability. The result is a walk through twenty years of video art on which to discover works of different aesthetics, lenghts and possibilities of interpretation.