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Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

Lida Abdul

Darren Almond

Julie Andreyev

Qiu Anxiong

Roy Arden

Robert Arndt

Josh Azzarella

Marco Brambilla

Mircea Cantor

Chen Chieh-jen

Dana Claxton

Christine Davis

Marcel Dzama

Kota Ezawa

Nelson Henricks

Gary Hill

Barbara Hlali

David Hoffos

Alex Hubbard

Isaac Julien

William Kentridge

Zhenchen Liu

Deirdre Logue

Mads Lynnerup

Euan Macdonald

Myfanwy MacLeod

Christian Marclay

Bjørn Melhus

Damián Ortega

Björn Perborg and Claudia del Fierro

Paulette Phillips

Robin Rhode

Marina Roy

Seifollah Samadian

Jon Sasaki

Jennifer Steinkamp

Grazia Toderi

Su-Mei Tse

Mark Wallinger

Gillian Wearing

Guido van der Werve

Jordan Wolfson

Yael Bartana

Thomas Bayrle

Gwenaël Bélanger

Elisabetta Benassi

Patrick Bernatchez

Johanna Billing

Dara Birnbaum

Cao Fei

Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Maïder Fortuné

Yang Fudong

Christoph Girardet and Matthias Müller

Pascal Grandmaison

Adad Hannah


Oliver Laric

Chris Larson

Frédéric Lavoie

Gonzalo Lebrija

Tim Lee

Mark Lewis

Steve McQueen

Bill Morrison

Thomas Mulcaire

Matthias Müller

Ciprian Mureşan

Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba

Hiraki Sawa

Carol Sawyer

Jeremy Shaw

David Shrigley

Janek Simon

Kathy Slade

Michael Snow

>CUE: Paul Wong

Jin-me Yoon

Artists’ Videos VA N CO UVE R ART G ALL ERY

Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Happy New Year: Memorial Project Vietnam II, 2003 (detail)

CUE: Artists’ Videos


Taking Cues from Artists



Borrowing From Cinema


Constructing Tableaux


Notes On The Everyday


Sight And Sound


History In The Making


Performing For The Camera


Living In The Spectacle



Reflections on Moving-Image Art in the Public Realm



Su-Mei Tse, L'echo, 2003 (detail)

Taking Cues from Artists

Since its inception in the 1960s, video art has continued to stretch the boundaries imposed by the omnipresent forces of cinema and visual art. After decades of experimentation, the status of this ever-nascent medium has shifted from the margins of the art world to its centre, becoming a presence equal in significance to that of the disciplines of painting, sculpture or photography. Over five decades, video tools have evolved from the analogue to the digital, have become broadly accessible, inexpensive and user friendly, and as such, can be used to produce works of free-wheeling looseness or highly-defined precision. Now with its own artistic history and a distinct aesthetic that favours experimentation and immediacy, video has become a preferred medium for artists who want to document and comment on the worlds they inhabit and to present alternative ways of seeing and understanding. The art community in Vancouver was particularly receptive to the new media of the 1960s, keen to try out technologies that were initially available only through high-end commercial facilities. To make these expensive but highly sought-after tools more accessible, artists began to organize and establish artist-run centres such as the Western Front and Video Inn (now VIVO). These centres continue to support artists by lending equipment and by providing opportunities to develop skills, to create work in residency environments and to have the results exhibited to peers and disseminated internationally. The city’s public art galleries, and the Vancouver Art Gallery in particular, enthusiastically embraced this new medium. Along with the performance and installation art that were also part of the creative flourishing of the 1960s, under the leadership of Tony Emery and Doris Shadbolt this gallery was instrumental in featuring video art as a vital aspect of its program. In the 1980s, the Vancouver Art Gallery took a further step by dedicating one of its exhibition spaces to the presentation of video tapes made by artists. Although this initiative was relatively short-lived, it helped solidify the medium as a mainstay of the Gallery’s exhibition program. By the 1990s, video was widely exhibited by most public art institutions, video works were collected both privately and publicly, and prominent Vancouver artists such as Stan Douglas and Rodney Graham became internationally acknowledged leaders in the field, contributing new theoretical analyses, modes of presentation and technical advances to a burgeoning art form. By now, in 2010, the medium is ubiquitous; most people carry devices that can record and transmit moving pictures. During Vancouver’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,

when thousands of visitors and locals will constantly be using the video function of cell phones and cameras, it seems fitting to present the varied contributions that artists are making to the radically changing sphere of moving images and to engage an exceptionally broad spectrum of people with the depth and boldness of video art. This special project therefore takes advantage of the Vancouver Art Gallery's central location by erecting a state-of-the-art fourteen- by eighteen-foot LED screen on its neoclassical facade. Not only does it signal that the building itself is a hub of creativity but CUE’s prominent insertion of artists’ works into a pedestrian-filled downtown site also positions artists’ video as a legitimate form of public art. Because this project reaches so extensively into the public realm, co-curator Christopher Eamon and I considered the specific nature of the site in making decisions. Out of the museum and onto the street, artists’ works compete with the sights and sounds of a bustling city, ever more so in the context of an international spectacle when visual messaging is multiplied and amplified. In order to capture the attention of roving audiences many of the works selected are short and dynamic. Other works of longer duration were chosen because they deeply probe the complexities of today's world. Appropriately for a global event, the project brings together work by artists from around the world and the seven programs focus on the principal ideas that today’s artists are exploring. These themes include the enduring fascination with and influence of cinema; the penchant to construct images in a manner unique to this medium; the valourization of what is ordinary and common; the consideration of how histories are “written”; the proclivity for artists to perform for the camera; a strong engagement with the audio aspect; and the critique of how the spectacle of mass media unfolds. The scale of this project is immense: in all, 79 artists from 22 countries are featured in 7 thematic programs of 89 works totalling 667 minutes. These works can be viewed every day over a 24 hour period during the 58 day exhibition. We anticipate that with this extended presence in the public realm, the works in CUE will surprise and delight, stir and provoke, in countless ways. DAI N A AUG A I T I S CUE co-curator Chief Curator/ Associate Director, Vancouver Art Gallery


Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

Gillian Wearing, Dancing in Peckham, 1994 (detail)

Reflections on Moving-Image Art in the Public Realm The history of the moving image in public spaces is inseparable from the history of technology over the last thirty-five years. Just as the history of media art itself is founded on the evolution of moving-image products since the late nineteenth century, the rapid and relatively recent development of large-scale video walls, hi-powered projectors and L.E.D. screens, has greatly increased the artistic potential of these technologies. Technology itself, however, has never completely determined the nature of the art created with it and has never truly limited artists’ imaginations. Many works conceived as hypothetical postulates about the social and theoretical implications of communications technologies now seem prescient and still relevant. Artists have often investigated and reconceptualized the public realm, but especially over the past few decades of rapid change. In the sixties and early seventies, when broadcast and cable television began to appear as the dominant cultural and social force, many video artists and theoreticians believed that television, for better or worse, now constituted the public sphere. But this idea of television as public space overlapped another idea of the time that saw public art as outdoor works, usually in urban contexts, intended to engage with a public imagined to be broader, more diverse and greater in number than the audiences attending traditional galleries and museums. Beginning in the 1970s, many non-profit organizations developed in urban centres to support and produce public art projects: Creative Time and Public Art Fund, for example, were founded in New York in 1974 and 1977 respectively to commission public works, sometimes on a grand scale. (A British version of this type of organization, Artangel, was founded much later, in 1992.) In 1978 Creative Time’s first public project with moving-image art, Downtown Drive-In, explored this idea of an accessible, free and open exposure to some of the most avantgarde film art of the time. Those passing by the outdoor screen in a downtown Manhattan parking lot could watch twenty-five films by American experimental film artists – Stan Brakhage, Rudy Burckhardt, Shirley Clarke, Ken Jacobs, Mike Kuchar, Marie Menken, among many others — and receive a history lesson in the unconventional uses of film. But if the 1970s idea of the public realm was one that enabled democracy and greater fluidity in art spectatorship, this notion began to shift towards something darker in the

1980s. Even before this, in the mid-to-late sixties, artists such as Dan Graham had begun to investigate the relationship between artist and viewer. Graham began with print media but soon turned his attention to video, as a subset of television, and to contemporary architecture. His bold investigation foreshadowed a notion of public taken for granted today, as a complex interplay between built corporate structures, data flows and decentralized, but by no means less effective, exercises of control and power. In describing the glass towers so prevalent by 1970, Graham concludes: The building’s transparent functionalism conceals its less apparent ideological function: justifying the use of technology or bureaucracy by large corporations or government agencies to impart their particular version of order on society. The spectator’s view is diverted away from social context by focusing only on the surface material or structural qualities.... The glass’s literal transparency not only falsely objectifies reality, but is a paradoxical camouflage; for while the actual function of a corporation may be to concentrate its self-contained power and control by secreting information, its architectural facade gives the illusion of absolute openness.1 Although not technically possible when he conceived them, two of Graham’s projects are particularly pertinent to a discussion of the moving image in the public realm: Graham's Video Projection Outside Home, conceived in 1966, but realized in 1978; and the conceived, but unrealized, Cinema (1981). In the former work, the one-way pipe that constitutes television’s delivery system into the home is intercepted and reflected back onto the street on a large video screen installed on the front lawn of a traditional North American ranch-style suburban house. Television is then returned to the ether from which it came, but not without implicating viewers in its electronic form of voyeurism. Such a work not only anticipates the large-scale outdoor screens for moving-image advertisements so prevalent in the last decade, but also the worldwide web platform YouTube, which further breaks down the traditional distinction between public and private.


Graham’s Cinema locates the place of the moving image on screen on a more vernacular, modernist-style commercial building, the single-screen cinema type that is mostly no longer in common usage in the age of cinema complexes and malls. Graham’s plan was for the construction of two walls of one-way glass placed contiguous to the cinema screen so that at night, with interior lights on, passers-by on the street would plainly see the audience, but the audience would not see those outside. As the back of the screen would face the street, when the movie theatre was darkened, these unseen outsiders could watch the reverse of the film image on the frosted glass screen. The play of seeing and being seen, on what is public and what is private, elaborates in a more conventionally designated public space Graham’s ideas of voyeurism, surveillance and control associated with television. By the late 1970s many artists explored further this notion of the unexpected interruption of the routine experience of outdoor environments. By the 1980s, with the growing intellectual influence of French literary theorists, concepts of the public were highly contested. Graham’s early works anticipate this darker investigation of how the public is constructed as an entity, and the recognition that so-called public spaces are organized to exercise control and hide the sources of power, that even malls and atria not publicly owned stand in for public space. By the late 1970s the dialogic possibilities of the public space so important to artists of the more optimistic sixties, began to seem fraudulent or illusory and had to be reconceived. Who/what/where was the public now? It was at this juncture that artists and artist-run centres began to use the airwaves i n an effort to grasp this elusive public. Within this environment Stan Douglas created Monodramas (1991) and Television Spots (1987-88) as a way to break into the homes of unsuspecting television viewers and interrupt their conventional viewing routines. Just as cable access was about to disappear (and be rendered potentially obsolete a decade later by the internet), artist-run centres such as the Western Front in Vancouver and YYZ Artists’ Outlet in Toronto arranged — concurrent with gallery exhibitions of his work — for Douglas’ short thirty-second videos to be screened on cable television amidst regular programming. His ten Monodramas and twelve Television Spots looked like television advertisements yet were not the quick messages viewers expected. Instead, these intentionally awkward and often surreal interpretations of the conventions of television momentarily interrupted its frantic, beckoning rhythms. Around the same time, Krzysztof Wodiczko’s projected slide and video works and Jenny Holzer’s public interventions were also countering mass media messages. Wodiczko projected images onto buildings and monuments, or in the case of his Cruise Missile piece, directly onto the banks of the Bow River in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (1983), or as with an image of a swastika, onto South Africa House at Trafalgar Square London in 1985 (if only for two hours).

Holzer’s on-going work with language takes a more discombobulating route by sending up messages that seem part of the massive flow of (mis)information bombarding spectators in contemporary public spaces. They also create ambiguity around the source and intended efficacy of those messages, drawing attention, as Douglas does in his short videos, to their form as messages. Truisms, her Creative Time project developed in many forms over several years, was presented in 1982 in New York’s iconic Times Square on a seventy-five square-metre screen on the former Times Building. Scrolling, flashing or blinking, sometimes clichéd, sometimes identified with her audience, her texts interact with what is perhaps the most spectacular, overwhelming array of moving public images ever seen. Holzer’s interventions are not intended to instruct or seduce passers-by but rather to make us notice the fictional nature and manipulative purpose of the surrounding advertisements. By the late eighties public video walls and sites for public interaction with video art seemed to appear everywhere. Two of the first of these public venue projects in Canada were Luminous Sights organized in 1986 by Vancouver’s Western Front and Video Inn, and the video wall at Mississauga Shopping Centre in 1987. As distinct from individual projects by Wodiczko and Holzer, these were curated group shows, exhibitions with many parts elaborating a curatorial plan outside the traditional confines of the gallery or museum. In presenting CUE the Vancouver Art Gallery turns its viewing space inside out in a way that resonates with some of video art’s earlier interventions. Part outdoor theatre, part architectural form and part interruption of quotidian daily routine, this exhibition makes inventive use of current technologies to offer a hybrid form of public art and to show an extensive number of works together over a long period of time (in this case, eight weeks). Works have been selected for the ways in which they can interrupt or at least alter the passage of both curious and unsuspecting people on the street. Rarely narrative and often looping, these videos engage viewers with the kind of art they may rarely have the opportunity or curiosity to see otherwise. Technology allows visitors to know exactly where they are in the video program and helps to keep them focused on the art. And so in its conceptualization of urban space amidst the spectacle of advertisements and street activity, CUE reflects on, highlights and continues to develop the ongoing, alternative, public practice of video art. CH R I STOP H E R E A MO N CUE co-curator, New York



Dan Graham, “Video/Architecture/Television” in Benjamin H. D. Buchloh (ed.), Writings on Video and Video Works 1970–1978, Halifax: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, New York University Press, New York 1979) 69.

Pascal Grandmaison, The Neutrality Escape, 2008 (detail)


Steve McQueen, Deadpan, 1997 (detail)

Since at least the 1990s, with Hollywood as the backdrop, many film and video artists have resisted mass-produced movies and television by using their work to expose the conventions of visual aesthetics in mainstream narrative cinema. Increasingly, however, others adopt the production techniques of Hollywood by using cast and crew, sets and high-end post-production in order to inhabit the cinema production space, choosing to comment from within this dominant form. To many of these artists the cinema is an institution which incorporates all aspects of the film industry, including viewing conditions in theatres. This group of videos shows the diversity of artistic responses to mainstream cinema. Christian Marclay, Josh Azzarella and the duo Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet appropriate shots and sequences directly from mainstream movies but for different ends. All three of their works here create new narratives from snippets of cinema, thus highlighting the formulaic nature of the traditionally shaped story in mainstream feature films. Patrick Bernatchez’ approach in the classically shot, though poetically implausible, I Feel Cold Today, is to pare down shots and sequence constructions to their bare essentials, while for Mark Lewis pulling the focus from a narrow to wide-angle shot constitutes the technique and substance of Algonquin Park, a strategy which almost always surprises. Steve McQueen’s Deadpan takes a well-known and elaborate Buster Keaton sight gag first realized in Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), and remakes the scene of a collapsing house to give it a weight and solemnity absent in the original. Yang Fudong creates a short narrative that, although surreal in comparison, uses takes from Shanghai feature films of the 1930s and 40s for an unexpected sequence of sailors on leave, pretty young women and scenes that echo film noir. By contrast, Pascal Grandmaison’s Neutrality Escape focuses on the cinematic apparatus itself — the film projector — as a fetishized object, while Bill Morrison creates new work out of decayed film footage from the early silent era, the period of filmmaking recreated by Marcel Dzama in The Lotus Eaters.

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Pascal Grandmaison The Neutrality Escape, 2008 11:24 Courtesy of Jessica Bradley Art + Projects and Galerie RenĂŠ Blouin, Montreal

Christian Marclay Telephones, 1995 07:30 Courtesy of the Artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York


Bill Morrison Light is Calling, 2004 08:00 Film by Bill Morrison, music composed by Michael Gordon Source material: “The Bells” (1926), directed by James Young

Marcel Dzama The Lotus Eaters Trailer, 2005–2007 01:22 Courtesy of the Artist and David Zwirner, New York


Patrick Bernatchez I Feel Cold Today, 2006–2007 13:28 Collection Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (1/2); Private Collection (2/2) Courtesy of the Artist

Mark Lewis Algonquin Park, September, 2001 02:41 Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund


Josh Azzarella Untitled #100 (Fantasia), 2007–2009 12:06 Courtesy of the Artist and DCKT Contemporary, New York

Yang Fudong Lock Again, 2004 03:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York


Steve McQueen Deadpan, 1997 04:30 Courtesy of the Artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Christoph Girardet and Matthias M端ller Play, 2003 07:20 Courtesy of the Artists


Christoph Girardet and Matthew M端ller, Play, 2003 (detail)


Adad Hannah, Eros and Aphrodite, 2008 (detail)

Throughout the last century emergent art forms maintained a dialogue with the traditions of painting. At first photographers imitated painting, especially portraiture, but early in the twentieth century the first truly modern practitioners of art photography sought to break with that trajectory, producing instead images that expressed the properties of light and the camera. In the second half of the century, painting began to imitate photography and photographic processes — most notably in the works of Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke — and as the quality of video images improved in the 1990s the earlier dialogue with static media began to haunt moving-image art. Tableaux and still-frame imagery in contemporary video art reflect this continuing influence of painting and large-scale photography. The group of works presented here refer to tableaux in at least two ways: first, to figures arranged in space, and second, to its early meaning as a kind of picture. This second use of tableaux evokes the interplay between traditional art forms and the newer medium of video. For example, photographic tableaux pre-figure the cinematographic works by Paulette Phillips, Matthias Müller and Julie Andreyev and other works included here, especially those by Gwenaël Bélanger, David Hoffos and Alex Hubbard, amply reveal ways to create the picture. Mark Wallinger’s On An Operating Table and Elisabetta Benassi’s Suolo (Ground) both take to extreme the idea of figure and ground so crucial to figurative painting, but Benassi uses digital technology to stitch together hi-definition pans of the soil at former factory and demolition sites. Fischli and Weiss pan across a series of cause-and effect-actions, in what seems to be an endless performance of the Rube Goldberg apparatus they have so carefully set up and into motion. Marina Roy’s and Adad Hannah’s works refer overtly to the history of images. Hannah, using arrangements of young contemporary figures in place of the gods and mortals of Greek and Roman art suggests not only classicism but the more recent historical interplay between still and moving images.


Peter Fischli and David Weiss Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), 1987 30:00 Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Galerie Eva Presenhuber Zürich, Matthew Marks Gallery New York

David Hoffos Disaster, 2000 03:09 Courtesy of the Artist and Trépanier Baer Gallery


Mark Wallinger On An Operating Table, 1998 13:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London

Adad Hannah Eros and Aphrodite, 2008 07:18 Produced with the cooperation of the Museo Nacional del Prado / Réalisée avec l’aide du Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Courtesy of Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal


Elisabetta Benassi Io non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto, 2004 01:31 Courtesy of Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, Rome

Adad Hannah

Gwenaël Bélanger

Repose (on the Plinthe), 2008 04:33 Produced with the cooperation of the Museo Nacional del Prado / Réalisée avec l’aide du Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Courtesy of Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal

Chutes, 2002–2005 03:30 Courtesy of the artist


Alex Hubbard CinĂŠpolis, 2007 01:55 Courtesy of the Artist and Standard (Oslo)

Elisabetta Benassi Suolo, 2007 14:50 Courtesy of Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, Rome


Marina Roy Apartment, 2008 10:11 excerpt Courtesy of the Artist

Matthias M端ller

Julie Andreyev

Pictures, 2002 05:25 Courtesy of the Artist

Sugi, 2009 04:05 Courtesy of the Artist


Paulette Phillips Crosstalk, 2004 04:20 Courtesy of Diaz Contemporary, Toronto and Danielle Arnaud contemporary art, London



Frédéric Lavoie, Code D’accès, 2003 (detail)

Although now it is a given that humble objects and activities can be the subject and substance of art, the prominence of the everyday in art was really a post-war phenomenon, elaborated in the 1950s and 60s through many new forms. The notion of the everyday appeared in assemblages and accumulation art, Happenings and Fluxus performances and as everyday movement in dance. Concurrently, Pop Art revelled in the images of ordinary articles advertised on billboards and in store windows. A plethora of new products in the booming post-war economy — appliances, cars and synthetic materials such as plastics — reinforced a product-based notion of the everyday, followed by the rejection of this notion by artists, in the form of dematerialized, non-object-based actions. Some works in this exhibition revise the idea of the everyday by editing together overlooked phenomenon. In Damián Ortega’s Ejercicio de lectura (Exercise in Reading), for example, tiny holes and cracks in street pavements and brick walls are compiled to create a visual symphony. The everyday is the theme of the animated drawings of David Shrigley and the digital evocation of the seasons in Jennifer Steinkamp’s Orbit 2. Seemingly fantastical imagery illuminates the everyday in works such as Hiraki Sawa’s Dwelling, where international jets travel surrealistically through the midst of a domestic household. Similarly rendered in 3-D through digital techniques, Gary Hill’s jet circles and passes effortlessly through a waving flag as if to deny the materiality suggested on screen, its endless passage evoking both nationalism and the transformation in recent history of planes into weapons. Ciprian Mureşan’s long tracking shot (exactly 4’33’’) seems innocuous enough, until we learn that this factory is one of many purchased and decommissioned by real estate speculators during the boom years in his native Romania. Other works challenge our notion of what is ordinary: the scene captured by Iranian artist Seifollah Samadian, for example, of women congregating at a Teheran bus stop in the midst of a snowstorm, or the works of Michael Snow, Carol Sawyer, Julie Andreyev, Frédéric Lavoie and Thomas Mulcaire, also inspired by the forces of nature. Predator and prey coexist in an artificial gallery setting in Mircea Cantor’s Deeparture. A powerful sense of competition, bravado and traditional notions of masculinity imbue Yael Bartana’s Kings of the Hill, as grown men drive jeeps and SUV’s over huge sand dunes to see who will win. Nelson Henricks’ and Paul Wong’s pieces both trace the passage of time using a series of rapid edits, while in the videos by Euan Macdonald, Myfanwy MacLeod and Roy Arden minimal gestures make things ordinary seem epic.


Nelson Henricks Countdown, 2007 00:30 Courtesy of the Artist

Myfanwy MacLeod

Euan Macdonald

The Greeter, 2000 07:00 excerpt of continuous loop Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Hammock Sleep, 2001 02:00 Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of Monty J. Cooper


Thomas Mulcaire Study for Solaris, 2007 06:39 Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

Seifollah Samadian The White Station, 1999 09:00 Courtesy of Arab Film Distribution


Julie Andreyev Bikeride, 2009 04:47 Courtesy of the Artist

Carol Sawyer Water Park, 2007 03:19 Courtesy of the Artist and Republic Gallery, Vancouver


DamiĂ n Ortega Ejercicio de lectura, 2002 03:40 Courtesy of the Artist and Kurimanzutto, Mexico City

Jennifer Steinkamp Orbit 2, 2008 03:30 excerpt of continuous loop Courtesy of the Artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York


Ciprian Mureşan 4’33’’, 2008 04:33 Courtesy of Andreiana Mihail Gallery, Bucharest

Yael Bartana Kings of the Hill, 2003 07:45 Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam


Mircea Cantor Deeparture, 2005 07:29 Courtesy of Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, Rome and Yvon Lambert

Hiraki Sawa Dwelling, 2002 09:20 Courtesy of the Artist and James Cohan Gallery, New York


Paul Wong Last Year, 2010 06:23 Courtesy of the Artist

Gary Hill Attention, 2005 04:00 excerpt of video component from single-channel video installation (continuous loop) Courtesy of the Artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago


Frédéric Lavoie Code D’accès, 2003 02:00 Courtesy of the Artist

Michael Snow Condensation: A Cove Story, 2009 10:00 Collection of the Fonds national d’Art contemporam, Paris (1/4); Collection of the McIntosh Art Gallery, London, Ontario (2/4)

Courtesy of the Artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, Angels Barcelona, Spain and Martine Aboucaya, Paris


Roy Arden Juggernaut, 2000 03:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver

David Shrigley Light Switch, 2007 01:29 Courtesy of the Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London


Paul Wong, Last Year, 2010 (detail)


Bjรถrn Perborg and Claudia del Fierro, รrboles, 2008 (detail)

The seductive nature of the visual in moving-image art often eclipses the audio but in recent years artists have begun to pay more attention to music and sound. In the group included here the audio component is often intentionally foregrounded, whether or not it was the initial inspiration for the piece. In some respects this renewed interest mirrors the concerns of producers of commercial music videos where the conventional cinematic relationship between image and sound is inverted and the audio track or score rather than the visual imagery becomes the starting point for the work. Dara Birnbaum’s Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, a landmark piece in the history of video art, is often overlooked because the disco song at the end of the piece takes up nearly half the work’s running time. A re-edit of television’s Wonder Woman series, it deconstructs the image of women in contemporary television. The lyrics, including all the sexualized oohs and aahs, are spelled out on the screen, drawing attention to the way that television in the 1970s domesticated female power through eroticization. Composer, musician and visual artist Christian Marclay almost always begins with sound even if he prevents viewers/listeners from accessing the audio through consumable, mass-media forms of dissemination. Recording and duplicating form the basis of much of Marclay’s early work, such as Record Players, but from the mid-nineties onward for works such as Telephones he uses found movie clips for the audio/video. Other artists in this program — Oliver Laric, Jeremy Shaw, Björn Perborg and Claudia del Fierro and Benny Nemeroksy Ramsay — make modest reinterpretations of pop songs. By shooting as though with surveillance cameras, the latter transforms a popular Madonna song through paranoia. For Magical World, Johanna Billing brings together school-aged Croation children from a suburb of Zagreb to sing Magical World (written in the 70s by soul legend Sidney Barnes) much like Gillian Wearing does with an untrained dancer in Dancing in Peckham. Jordan Wolfson challenges the notion of authorial voice by using a synthesizer as a voice-over for mediated images which intentionally fail to correspond to the audio. Oliver Laric and Su-Mei Tse create digital interpretations, one of dance or trance music, the other of a classical cello concerto, and in Dernier Mouvement Frédéric Lavoie uses a mirror to double perspectives of alternately framed classical piano music.


Dara Birnbaum

Christian Marclay

Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, 1978–1979 05:50 Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Record Players, 1983–1984 05:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Oliver Laric Aircondition, 2006 01:59 Courtesy of the Artist


Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay Live to Tell, 2002 05:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Jessica Bradley Art + Projects

Jordan Wolfson

Su-Mei Tse

Untitled False Document/Ambien/Scorpio/Aspargas/Infra Red, 2007-2009 03:31 Courtesy Johann Koenig, Berlin

L’echo, 2003 04:54 excerpt Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York


Frédéric Lavoie Dernier Mouvement, 2008 06:20 Courtesy of the Artist

Johanna Billing Magical World, 2005 06:12 Courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago


Bjรถrn Perborg and Claudia del Fierro ร€rboles, 2008 05:01 Music: Sokio and Telefunka. Parcour: Jonathan Selwall and Erik Rosengren Courtesy of the Artists

Gillian Wearing Dancing in Peckham, 1994 25:00 Courtesy Maureen Paley, London


Jeremy Shaw Morning Has Broken, 2001 03:39 Courtesy of the Artist and Blanket Gallery, Vancouver


BjÜrn Perborg & Claudia del Fierro, Àrboles, 2008 (detail)


Chen Chieh-jen, Factory, 2003 (detail)

The idea that history could be approached objectively is a Modernist one. Classical notions of history almost always involved picking out from a mass of data a significant detail, a decisive act, a particularity. Yet history shares with art and myth-making a reliance on seemingly insignificant or imaginative details. Some combination of the objective with the subjective typifies most forms of story telling, even documentary. The mini-histories included here, whether through animation or verité-style work, interweave the public, the personal and the imagined to tell of more recent incidents and transformations. Stories of small and unspectacular experiences are transferred to the large screen, often with dramatic impact. Barbara Hlali’s hand painted frames both disguise and reveal that the underlying images are not those of a paradise but of a military presence. Dana Claxton’s Anwolek uses found footage as a basis for a meditation on place, and on how histories, often contradictory, get written. Chen Chieh-Jen’s Factory combines historical footage of very active sewing factories in Taiwan with new footage of workers returning to the decommissioned factories where they were employed thirty years earlier. Lida Abdul’s Afghan school children playfully investigate a military plane that has been shot down. Zhenchen Liu’s video Shanghai Shanghai combines digital imagery with actual footage to reveal the recent radical transformation of this city, while an elderly women evicted from her home gives voice to its last moments. By contrast, Qiu Anxiong’s meditation on Minguo appears historical when in fact the brushpainted images have been animated using current techniques to tell a story of the mid-twentieth century. Strangely, Darren Almond makes us witness to a part of the planet that seems to symbolize the underside of our consciousness when he animates the iceshelf of Antarctica in A and sets it to an electronic beat, de-naturalizing the image. Finally, David Shrigley’s animated anecdote about fear and alienation touchingly probes underlying social phenomena.


Qiu Anxiong Minguo Landscape, 2006–2007 14:33 Courtesy of the Artist and Grace Li Gallery, Zurich

Barbara Hlali Painting Paradise, 2008 05:30 Courtesy Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt


Dana Claxton Anwolek – Regatta City, 2005 04:35 Courtesy of the Artist

Lida Abdul In Transit, 2008 04:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Galleria Giorgio Persano, Torino


Zhenchen Liu Shanghai, Shanghai, 2006 11:37 Courtesy Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt

Chen Chieh-jen Factory, 2003 31:09 Courtesy of the Artist


William Kentridge Tide Table, 2003 08:00 Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Darren Almond

David Shrigley

A, 2002 22:00 Courtesy of the Artist and White Cube, London

New Friends, 2006 01:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London



Jon Sasaki, Fireworks, 2006 (detail)

Cameras can provoke performance, which is perhaps why early video art so often takes the artist’s own body and actions as subject matter. Since the new, relatively radical practice of performance art in the 1970s and 1980s, performance has become an established aspect of contemporary art. Derived historically from Happenings and the scored actions of Fluxus artists in the early 1960s, performance by visual artists in the late sixties and seventies became a way to maintain an artistic practice without resorting to conventional object-based art production. Eventually performance works became a genre of art-making like many others. Artists in this program explore all types of performances — musical, theatrical or process-oriented — using a multitude of techniques. Process-oriented works that reference the 1970s include Jon Sasaki’s Fireworks and Tim Lee’s Untitled (Studio Roll), an homage to a double-screen Dan Graham work. Kimsooja, Guido van der Werve and Jin-me Yoon use their own bodies in ways reminiscent of earlier works but the concepts, scale and geopolitical locations of these pieces take the seventies conceit to new levels. Similarly, in works by Kathy Slade, Mads Lynnerup and Gonzalo Lebrija, while the artists’ actions seem almost quotidian they remain on the edge of what is surreal or unlikely. Other works in the group could easily be included in the cinematic program, another model for video art performance. Isaac Julien, a renowned filmmaker, retools his practice in a multi-channel work set in Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. Presented here in a single-channel work, the stately home of the famous architect includes many rare and ancient artifacts as well as a collection of nineteenth-century works of art. Julien’s vagabond is cast as a dancer, yet the choreography suggests he is a sort of trickster at loose in this colonial-era mansion. Other works seem to have been influenced by Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle as elaborately staged, quasi-narratives that form a chain of irrational cause and effect. Chris Larson’s icy Deep North and Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s underwater Happy New Year: Memorial Project Vietnam II are both set-ups, portrayed relatively naturally and including surreal performances. The starting point for each of the film and video performances by Deirdre Logue, Maïder Fortuné and Paulette Phillips is the idea of self-image, while David Shrigley and Robin Rhode use video animation to set the tone for the filmed performances that follow.


David Shrigley The Flame, 2008 01:11 Courtesy of the Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Jon Sasaki Fireworks, 2006 02:06 Thanks to the Digital Media Studio, University of Guelph Courtesy of the Artist


Chris Larson Deep North, 2008 05:59 Courtesy of Magnus Muller, Berlin

Tim Lee Untitled (Studio Roll, 1970), 2009 01:01 Courtesy of Johnen Galerie, Berlin and Lisson Gallery, London


Jin-me Yoon As It Is Becoming (Seoul, Korea): Teum/Passages Through, 2008 09:27 Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Guido van der Werve Nummer Acht: Everything Is Going To Be Alright, 2007 10:10 Courtesy of Monitor Gallery, Rome; Gallery Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam; Marc Foxx, Los Angeles Photo: Ben Geraerts


Kimsooja A Needle Woman, 1999 06:33 Courtesy Kimsooja Studio

Deirdre Logue excerpts from Enlightened Nonsense [“Patch,” 2000; “H2Oh Oh,” 2000; “Moohead,” 1999; “Always a Bridesmaid...Never a Bride of Frankenstein,” 2000; “Milk and Cream,” 2000; “Fall,” 1997] 09:40 Courtesy of the Artist

Milk and Cream

H2Oh Oh



Robin Rhode Paper Planes, 2009 02:40 Courtesy the Artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York Š Robin Rhode

Commissioned and produced by the MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA with assistance from The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York Courtesy Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York Š Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba Happy New Year: Memorial Project Vietnam II, 2003 15:00


Kathy Slade Tugboat, 2007 05:00 Courtesy of the Artist

Mads Lynnerup Hat, 2000 00:45 Courtesy of Lora Reynolds Gallery


Isaac Julien Vagabondia, 2000 (single screen version) 07:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Gonzalo Lebrija Asteri贸n, 2006 04:11 Courtesy of the Artist and I-20 Gallery, New York


Maïder Fortuné Totem, 2001 10:00 Courtesy of the Artist and Martine Aboucaya Gallery, Paris

Paulette Phillips “It's about how people judge appearance,” 2001 01:00 Courtesy of Diaz Contemporary, Toronto and Danielle Arnaud contemporary art, London



Grazia Toderi, Semper eadem, 2004 (detail)

Since the 1960s the imagery of cinema, advertisements, moving-image billboards and perhaps even video art itself, has invaded the social landscape largely unhindered and has come to epitomize ours as an era of spectacle. In an early investigation of this socio-political phenomenon French theorist Guy Debord drew our attention to the shift that occurred in the mid-1960s with the first televised American presidential elections and the first truly televised war, Vietnam. Many artists in this program take as a given the spectacular nature of our media environment and choose to use its techniques. Others make work that is critical of the manipulative nature of spectacle or examine how we live within it. These investigations seem appropriate to the public presentation of video art on a large outdoor screen in a public plaza in the heart of Vancouver. The artists in this group have embraced aspects of the spectacle, with varying degrees of resistance. When Bjørn Melhus reimagines in Happy Rebirth, Marilyn Monroe singing a breathy “happy birthday” to President Kennedy, he reminds us that even relatively unimportant details can figure in a globally shared consciousness. Other artists see the proliferation of images, of society itself as an image mediated by television, as potentially dangerous to democratic society. In Marco Brambilla’s Civilization for instance, the images that issue from mainstream cinema in so many forms — through cable television, computer screens and as mpegs — are appropriated and collaged into a menacing vision that cycles from hell to heaven and back. The circulation of images through television increases exponentially with the Internet, something addressed in Cao Fei’s RMB City, Christine Davis’ viral Satellite Ballet (for Loïe Fuller) and Kota Ezawa’s reworking of a televised and recycled scene of NBA violence, works made of and for the Web. Three works by Grazia Toderi and Thomas Bayrle’s Balt also use digital means to create images of seduction. Robert Arndt’s trailer thwarts the traditional purpose of a film preview to animate interest in the main feature and Janek Simon extends the effect of spectacle by holding the shot of a well-recognized Polish ski jumper, in apparently infinite mid-flight, in the centre of the frame.


Grazia Toderi Rosso, 2007 03:05 excerpt Courtesy of the Artist and Gi贸 Marconi, Milan 漏 Grazia Toderi

Marco Brambilla Civilization, 2008 06:40 excerpt Courtesy of Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica


Cao Fei The Birth of RMB City, 2009 10:32 RMB City is developed by Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) & Vitamin Creative Space Facilitator: Uli Sigg (SL: UliSigg Cisse). RMB City © 2009. Produced by the Fondation Hermès

Thomas Bayrle B)alt, 1997 04:00 Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin


Thomas Bayrle Gummibaum, 1993–1994 08:08 Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin

Grazia Toderi Semper eadem, 2004 03:54 Courtesy of the Artist and Gió Marconi, Milan © Grazia Toderi


Christine Davis Satellite Ballet (for Loïe Fuller), 2008–2009 00:18 Courtesy of the Artist

Grazia Toderi Il Decollo, 1998 02:20 Courtesy of the Artist and Gió Marconi, Milan © Grazia Toderi


Kota Ezawa Brawl, 2008 04:00 Courtesy Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt

Janek Simon

Bjørn Melhus

Jump, 2006 10:00 excerpt Courtesy of Raster Gallery, Warsaw

Happy Rebirth, 2004 01:30 Courtesy Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt


Robert Arndt Trailer, 2006 02:06 Courtesy of the Artist


Grazia Toderi, Il Decollo, 1998 (detail)

This catalogue is produced in conjunction with CUE: Artists’ Videos, an exhibition organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and presented from January 23 to March 21, 2010.

CUE: Artists’ Videos is presented with:

Curators: Daina Augaitis and Christopher Eamon Curatorial Assistant: Stephanie Rebick Head of Audio/Visual: Wade Thomas Publication Design: Studio:Blackwell Digital Image Preparation: Rachel Topham Editing: Judith Penner Special thanks to: Jim Brown, Danielle Currie, Mark Curry, Tor Henderson, Emma Hendrix, Suzanne Hepburn, Robert Kerr, Karen Love, Noel Macul, Marlene Madison, Brady Marks, Andrew McCord, Bryan Newson, Richard Newirth, Normal Design, Susan Perrigo, Kelly Phillips, Scott Robinson, John Ryder, Alix Sales, Matt Smith and Burke Taylor.

Additional funding from:

Publication © 2010 Vancouver Art Gallery Artwork © 2010 the artists Individual Texts © 2010 the authors

Supporting Sponsor:

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a license from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). ISBN: 978-1-895442-83-0 The Vancouver Art Gallery is a not-for-profit organization supported by its members; individual donors; corporate funders; foundations; the City of Vancouver; the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and Gaming Revenues; the Canada Council for the Arts; and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.

750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6Z 2H7 Tel: 1 604 662 4700, www.vanartgallery.bc.ca


Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

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CUE: Artists' Videos  

Catalogue for the exhibition CUE: Artists' Videos presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery from January 23 - March 21, 2010 and curated by Dai...

CUE: Artists' Videos  

Catalogue for the exhibition CUE: Artists' Videos presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery from January 23 - March 21, 2010 and curated by Dai...


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