An invasive presence, in video
The ongoing show on video sculpture in Germany at the Apeejay Gallery in New Delhi presents an array of arresting video sculptures and works on paper.
GERMAN IMPORT: A work on show at Apeejay Art Gallery.
The show may not appear spectacular in size but it is certainly significant in content. At the Apeejay Gallery in New Delhi, Video Sculpture In Germany Since 1963 presents 18 video sculptures and 47 works on paper in a showing that will run till November 27th. Any student of new media who may be interested in its genesis cannot afford to miss this exhibition, which lays down some of the conceptual frames and investigations into the medium. Fortunately, the presentation is extremely poetic and even provocative. Nam June Paik, (b. 1932) who did some of his most important works with the group Fluxus in Germany, had famously remarked, "as the collage technique replaced oil paint, the cathode ray tube will replace the canvas." Yet Paik's own position with regard to the medium was wry and objective, in that he produced a body of layered works. A master of the medium who did much of his work in collaboration with the classical cellist Charlotte Moorman - once famously creating undergarments made of television sets for her - is represented in this exhibition with prints and a small installation that establishes his perspicacity in understanding the power of video as an agency of artistic transformation. Paik foresaw a huge proliferation for the medium of video even as he foresaw the terrible ennui and sameness of mass media transmission.
In the work Buddha Looking At Candle TV, the idea of the couch potato, seemingly transfixed by the flickering image, appears to be born.
Paik's work is seen in close proximity with that of Anna Anders (b. 1959), one of the younger generation German video artists, here represented by what appear to be two male attendants, identifiable in their ill fitting black coats, filmed in the act of constantly being on the lookout. This silent, seemingly banal idea extends to that of the video camera in the act of surveillance, a tool of invasion as the all-seeing mechanical eye. The artist, however, intends them to be television or media commentators, who present both a uniform lack of identity and an invasive presence. Curator Wolf Herzogenrath has created a tiered presentation in terms of the first, the second and the third generation of artists, who variously counter the presence of the electronic medium. Claus Bohmler's miniature videos positioned on top of a stack of magazines suggest the movement away from the print to the electronic media. Wolf Kahlen's Paper with a rock that mimics the shape of the TV set and Franziska Megert's video work reveal the ambivalent attitude towards the medium. Megert's work mimics children's picture books in which pages can be flipped around to create multiple cartoon figures such as Goofy's head with Winnie The Pooh's body and the legs of Richie Rich. Only here, the artist keeps swapping the nude body in parts to create a biological dissonance between the young and the old, male and female, single and double organs.
Finally, it is Ulrike Rosenback in her work Requiem for an Oak Tree that the technological age, and its terrible avarice for all natural life are laid out. This work has an elegiac quality in its simplicity, as a single dry branch appears to resist an in-coming flame.
One does not usually see photographs exhibited on easels in a dimly lit garden, but that is how Derry Moore, the Earl of Drogheda, was exhibited recently by the World Luxury council. Moore is a society photographer, who has photographed Indian and British royals and works stylistically like a latter day Deen Dayal. On view at the exhibition were his works of British and Indian palace interiors, Princess Diana, and Helena Bonham Carter, and portraits of David Bowie and Nureyev that bespoke environments of a degenerate excess. Moore also works with the same formal engagements as Dayanita Singh, adding to an existing substantial body of rich Indians who engage in self-conscious portraiture as their chosen form of representation. Clearly, this is a new area in this genre of portraiture, which will only continue to grow, establishing a direct relationship between a society's growing wealth and its need to record familial and individual histories.
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