Video art

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The video art is a form of media art , which the projection as a medium serving of artistic expression. Video art emerged in Germany and America in the early 1960s .


The term refers to the fact that the artists work with video technology , i.e. present videos as part of a video installation or in the form of a video sculpture. Either the technology itself is thematized and the possibilities of the medium explored, or the screen is viewed as a new canvas that opens up new possibilities and forms of painting with moving images. But there are also relationships to experimental film . Video art can appear in the form of a room-bound video installation, the video can be part of a room installation or not room-bound, and can be consumed on entertainment devices like other media.

In 1963, Nam June Paik in the Parnass Gallery in Wuppertal changed real television images with the help of strong magnets so much that the television images mutated into non-representational forms. In the same year Wolf Vostell's Sun in your head was created and the Smolin Gallery in New York showed Wolf Vostell's installation 6 TV-Dé-coll / agen, which today belongs to the art collection of the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid , and other TV-Dé-coll / agen by Wolf Vostell, where the reception was disturbed, the devices were destroyed or wrapped with barbed wire and buried. Originally, Sun in your head was shot on 16mm film and transferred to video in 1967 .

The real video art started a little later, after portable video equipment became available. In 1969, the Howard Wise Gallery in New York hosted the first comprehensive exhibition entitled " TV as a Creative Medium ". In the early phase of video art, an image recorded with a video camera was usually presented to the viewer directly on a connected monitor . Later, the artists made longer video productions from an artistic perspective in order to present them in the form of installations in which the moving images were shown on a large number of monitors. In 1977 Nam June Paik was represented with a video installation at documenta 6 , as was Wolf Vostell. German video artists include Marcel Odenbach , Mike Steiner , Klaus vom Bruch , Ulrike Rosenbach , and Julian Rosefeldt . Other video artists are the Americans Bill Viola , Gary Hillmund and the Dutchman Nan Hoover .

Topics and references


Performance and land art artists often use video as a medium to document their (actual) work. Strictly speaking, these do not belong to video art; however, developments in the various directions have strongly influenced one another. From 1968 Gerry Schum developed various formats under the name TV gallery or video gallery that brought together films by artists and were supposed to present them outside of the conventional exhibition situations that appeared to be inadequate for the new art movements. Schum mainly showed Land Art artists such as Robert Smithson and Richard Long , but also Joseph Beuys and the first films by Gilbert and George .

While artists such as Vito Acconci , Chris Burden or Joan Jonas initially used video for documentation purposes, themes and techniques of performance art - such as the accentuation of individual actions or the human body itself - became explicitly the basis of video works through Bruce Nauman , Gary Hill and Nan Hoover .


Video installation Fliegende Bilder, Adolf Winkelmann

The transitions between video art and experimental or traditional film are fluid. Many video artists deal with the medium and its structures themselves; the narrative possibilities or conventions of the cinema become the actual topic. Examples of this are works by Douglas Gordon - such as 24 Hour Psycho (1993), in which Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Psycho is slowed down to a duration of 24 hours - or by artists such as Rodney Graham or Isaac Julien , the typical narrative patterns and myths of Hollywood cinema analyze and sometimes satirize.

In France in the 1960s, Jean-Christophe Averty created numerous music videos (including for Gilbert Bécaud , Serge Gainsbourg and France Gall ) and television films that caused a sensation as experiments (including his Midsummer Night's Dream in 1969 ). Video pioneer Averty received an Emmy Award in 1965 for his video work .

The documentary possibilities of film are also pursued in video art, for example by Steve McQueen , Tacita Dean , Diego Fiori and Olga Pohankova, or Zarina Bhimji . In contrast to traditional documentary films , in video art the aesthetic effect is often emphasized and reinforced through repetitions or other manipulations of the material.

There can also be an overlap between video art and music video ; some artists like Pipilotti Rist stage video works on pieces of music or, like Candice Breitz, refer to the images and role models known from music videos. The director Chris Cunningham, on the other hand, who originally produced videos for musicians like Aphex Twin or Squarepusher , is now exhibiting his works such as Flex (2000) in an art context.

Often the time courses or the image format in video art are changed to such an extent that the work of art is brought closer to the panel painting . Bill Viola , for example, arranged his projections Nantes Triptych (1992) and The City of Man (1997) as a triptych and also placed them in the context of the religious image. In The Greeting (1995) he recreates a painting by the Florentine painter Jacopo Pontormo as a film scene slowed down in slow motion. The Belgian artist David Claerbout uses similar means to transfer the photographic image into the moving image.

Technology, digital media and artificial intelligence

In contemporary art, which has its roots in video art but is correctly assigned to computer art, both conceptual works and works with references to pop culture ( music video , feature film ), video performances and experiments with visual perception emerge . Few cultural channels such as 3sat or ARTE occasionally broadcast video art nights, otherwise this art form - although predestined for the medium of television - continues to take place in the white cube .

Since 2001 there has also been the first video art TV station, “ Souvenirs from earth ” (SFE) founded by the French TV journalist Laurent Krivine and video artist Marcus Kreiss.

In 2004, Willi Bucher and Ralf Kopp first introduced the glass block into video art (beboxx). The combination of glass blocks and modern image projection technology generates a completely new visual perception of the content shown.

The increased availability of inexpensive computing power means that the spectrum of digital technologies available to artists is expanding significantly. In addition to techniques such as glitch , in which artifacts from digital destruction are used as an artistic design tool, high technology such as AI ( artificial intelligence ) and artificial neural networks are now also being used in the creation of video art .

The French, Français Michel Bret, Edmond Couchot and the French Marie-Hélène Tramus, who worked with AI to create their video art works La Plume, Le Pissenlit (1988) and La Funambule (2000), can be regarded as pioneers.

See also

Institutions, festivals


Web links

Commons : Video art  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wulf Herzogenrath: Video art of the 1960s in Germany , Kunsthalle Bremen, 2006, page 8
  2. Nam June Paik, Parnass Gallery, 1963
  3. NBK Volume 4. Time Pieces. Video art since 1963. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne 2013, ISBN 978-3-86335-074-1 .
  4. ^ Wolf Vostell, Parnass Gallery, 1963
  5. ^ Smolin Gallery, 1963
  6. Wulf Herzogenrath: Video art of the 1960s in Germany , Kunsthalle Bremen, 2006, page 9
  7. The Art Museum in the Digital Age - 2020 | Belvedere. Retrieved February 25, 2020 .
  8. Inrev - Université Paris 8. Retrieved February 25, 2020 .
  9. Inrev - Université Paris 8. Retrieved February 25, 2020 .