In recent years, large-scale exhibitions on the academic study, historical overview, and specialized exhibition of video art have been held in both western and non-Western countries. ZKM’s 2006exhibition entitled “Video Art in Germany From 1963 to the Present” is just one important example. The recent interest in the medium is intimately related to the development of contemporary art overall. The structure of contemporary art today is moving toward homogenization and focusing on mutually influential and related global events. However, in the course of rapid globalization, the art of non-Western countries is urgently searching for new ways of reconstructing and writing its own history.
In this context, CAFA Art Museum and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum join up to organize “Time Test: International Video Art Research Exhibition”. In the axis of the development course of the video art, the project presents more than 60 domestic and foreign artists with two collateral exhibitions echoing with each other.
I. “Moving Time: Video Art at 50, 1965-2015” reviews and researches the greatly significant artworks in the last 50 years of western video art development.
II. “Screen Test: Chinese Video Art since the 1980s” focuses on organizing and reviewing the last thirty years of video art through representative Chinese voices in active in moving image art.
The project also includes a series of public programs such as a compendium of artistic and social events, extension reading materials for public enrichment, and lectures and discussions featuring the artists and invited scholars.
Moving Time: Video Art at 50, 1965–2015
Curator: Caitlín Doherty
Curatorial Assistant: Katja Rivera
Organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A.
Participating Artists (In alphabetical order by surname):
Marina Abramović, Charles Atlas, Mark Brownlow & Ingrid Kvale & Anuschka Schofield, Valie Export, Harun Farocki, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelle Handelman, Joan Jonas, Sam Jury, Chris Marker, Anne-Marie Miéville, Nástio Mosquito, Luis Felipe Ortega, Nam June Paik, Julian Rosefeldt, Martha Rosler, Michael Snow, Steina and Woody Vasulka, Bill Viola, Andy Warhol, Weng Yunpeng
“Moving Time: Video Art at 50, 1965-2015” traces the impact various artists have had on the art form—from its birth in the 1960s with artists Andy Warhol and Nam June Paik, to the performative work of influential women artists such as Joan Jonas, to the lesser-known works of international emerging artists continuing to push the medium forward today. The exhibition is one of the final shows envisioned by Broad MSU Founding Director Michael Rush prior to his passing earlier this year, and is curated by Caitlín Doherty, Broad MSU Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs.
Rush was internationally recognized for his observations of, and pioneering publication on, video art (Video Art, 2003, 2007). His vision for “Moving Time” was guided by the belief that, given the ubiquity of all manner of videos in contemporary society, it is of growing importance to focus on the history and progress of video as an art form, as practiced by visionary artists from around the globe.
“The trajectory of video art is expansive and the form has the unique ability to embrace a kaleidoscope of artistic ideas—from the abstract to the performative, the conceptual to the documentary. Video art has become one of the most significant mediums to emerge over the past half-century, and artists across the globe are constantly moving it forward—evolving and departing from the innovative and experimental work of their predecessors,” said Caitlín Doherty. “Video pervades our daily lives as never before and so now, it is perhaps more important than ever to distinguish video art as an art form and celebrate the artists who use it to explore the world we live in. We hope this exhibition both honors our Founding Director Michael Rush’s vision and provides our visitors with insight into a medium that proliferates throughout the art world today.”
Video technology—once dominated solely by the film and television industry—first became accessible to visual artists in the mid-20th century, in the form of more affordable and easy-to-use portable devices. In just 50 years, the medium has been leveraged by artists across the globe to blur the boundaries between traditional artistic practices and inventive new methods of storytelling. “Moving Time” will ask visitors to both contemplate the progression of video art over time and simultaneously put works from various time periods in dialogue with one another. It will also feature five works from emerging, international contemporary video artists—including Sam Jury, Michelle Handelman, and Weng Yunpang. Each artist will showcase his or her work alongside one ‘historic’ work they cite as having been of particular influence to them during the course of their career.
Additional highlights of the exhibition include:
Seminal works by early pioneers—including:
Andy Warhol’s first double-projection film Outer and Inner Space (1965), one of the earliest examples of video installation art capturing actress and factory girl Edie Sedgwick interacting with a video recording of herself; and
Nam June Paik‘s earliest video tape Button Happening (1965), recorded on the day he first acquired his Sony Portapak camera.
An installation dedicated to the performative videos of women artists, exploring the role of the body, complexity of the mind, and inequalities fostered by both gender and political prejudice—including Marina Abramović’s AAA-AAA (1978), Joan Jonas’s Vertical Role (1972), and Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975).
Screen Test: Chinese Video Art Since 1980s
Curator: Dong Bingfeng, Wang Chunchen
Curatorial Assistant: Yi Yue
Organized by CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China
Participating Artists (In alphabetical order by pinyin of surname):
Cao Fei, Cao Kai, Chen Chieh-jen, Cheng Ran, Feng Mengbo, Jia Zhangke, Jiao Yingqi, Hsu Che-Yu, Li Yongbin, Lin Ke, Lu Yang, Mao Chenyu (filmfarm), Miao Ying, Qiu Zhijie, Song Dong, Wang Bing, Wang Gongxin, Wang Jianwei, Wang Jun-Jieh, Ming Wong, Xu Tan, Xu Zhen, Yang Fudong, Yuan Goang-Ming, Zhang Peili, Zhou Xiaohu.
“Special Unit: Hong King Video Art” organized by Videotage
The study of video art, or to use the recently popular term “moving image,” is still concentrated in core countries in Europe and America that are considered the source of modern art and its development, but the influence of this artistic form has increased in the Chinese-speaking world. Video art has developed in mainland China for more than twenty years; the medium rose earlier in neighboring Taiwan and Hong Kong, which were influenced by Western modern art at an earlier date. Beginning in the late 1990s, there has been a marked increase in the number of exhibitions of Chinese video art, and exchange and discussion regarding the medium is becoming more common. It is particularly worth nothing that video art, a form that is rising in the Chinese-speaking world, came from the West, but Chinese video art has not simply imitated the Western historical, aesthetic, and cultural context. Instead, Chinese video artists have brought the practice into their unique cultural contexts, with a close focus on their own realities. They have actively and strategically intervened in discussions of social issues, launching a moving image movement with a more organic critical awareness and reflective spirit.
As a part of CAFA Art Museum’s “Time Test: International Video Art” exhibition, “Screen Test: Chinese Video Art since the 1980s” focuses on organizing and reviewing the last thirty years of video art through representative Chinese voices in active in moving image art. Within the title “Screen Test,” the “screen” refers to the framed vehicle for the projection and presentation of the moving image, while “test” refers to the practice and manifestation of the medium in the multiples spaces in which art museums hold public education and discussion events. This concept attempts to break away from narrow understandings of video art and the excessive focus on the forms, techniques, and development of the medium. Instead, this art form is re-examined with the context of the art museum and broader public places, which also allows for the investigation of the closely-related media of documentaries, film, and new media art, proposing a renewal of artistic ideas and posing a challenge to the sites of culture.
“Screen Test: Chinese Video Art Since the 1980s” is divided into three sections. The first section, entitled “The Infancy of Video Art,” introduces the occurrence of video art in greater China and how it became an independent artistic medium and cultural theme. Participating artists include Zhang Peili, Wang Gongxin, Song Dong, Xu Tan, Xu Zhen, Li Yongbin, Wang Jianwei, Wang Jun-Jieh, Yuan Goang-Ming. In the second section, entitled “Media Experiment,” video art developed in 1990s with spread of personal computers and new media technologies and the rise of the independent film movement and experimental films. Video art became an expanding aesthetic experiment and a radical transformation. Artists include Feng Mengbo, Jiao Yingqi, Qiu Zhijie, Cao Kai, Lin Ke, Cao Fei, Lu Yang, and Miao Ying. The third section, entitled “Transition to Film,” encompasses films shot by artists or spatial film installations produced by film directors; both are becoming increasingly important themes in moving image art today. Film has become more than a medium of contemporary art; it is an important tool and methodology for witnessing, recording, participating, and acting in society. Participating artists include Jia Zhangke, Yang Fudong, Wang Bing, Ming Wong, Zhou Xiaohu, Mao Chenyu, Chen Chieh-jen, Cheng Ran, Hsu Che-Yu.
The Exhibition also includes the special unit of Hong Kong video art “Simultaneity – Reframing Hong Kong I”. It is a program that proposes (historical) re-readings of artists’ moving image from Hong Kong. By selecting video works of art, animations and documentary films produced by Hong Kong artists from 1989 to 2014, the program will reinterpret the experience of here and now by looking into the potentially excluded and forgotten images of Hong Kong. Participating Artists include Ellen Pau, Man Ching Ying Phoebe, Angela Su, May Fung, Jo Law, Choi Sai Ho, Lai Chiu-han Linda, Chan Chui Hing Nose, Chow Chun Fai, Mak Hoi Shan Anson, Silas Fong, MAP Office, Law Yuk Mui, Cheng Chi Lai Howard, João Vasco Paiva, Leung Chi Wo, Eric Siu, Art Jones, Wong Ping, Morgan Wong.