The single-channel works of video art presented in this exhibition can be understood as part of the broad horizon encompassed by post-formalist and post-minimalist trends, such as those fashioned in the 60s, 70s and 80s, which have returned to reality itself in order to explore critically, contemplatively and poetically, human substance and essence within the network of its social, communicative, existential and transcultural relationships.
Video, a new recording medium, takes its place alongside film only to completely replace it later because of the multiplicity of potentials it offers, and particularly in the use and disruption of a host of codes simultaneously, among which the image, deriving from television or not, the oral and written word, the voice, sound and their common matrix, silence, has likewise provided the opportunity for new and multisense audio-visual artworks. From a medium of recording, video became in the hands of these visual artists an exceptionally flexible and expressive instrument. Through the hybrid character of the produced artworks, in which painting, sculpture, music, theatricality and cinematic narrative are brought together, one recognises the concerns of contemporary aesthetic thought in relation to the correspondence of the arts of space and time, and also the realization of the demand for the synthesis of the arts and the total art work, as it was touched upon by Kandisnky at the very outset of modernism.
Following Ferdinand de Saussure’s Cours de Linguistique, the explosion of structuralism and the theories of postmodernism, feminism and deconstruction, videoart of the early decades– more than any other form of artistic expression – embraced the contemporary theoretical concerns, while preceding or – in any case – incorporating common beliefs. This is particularly evident in the field of linguistic and especially syntaxic experimentation, which was considered, after Noam Chomsky, the core of language. It is true, nevertheless, that the disturbances, the gaps, the fissures and the fracturing of the image, of speech and sound, at times make many video works hermetic and hard to perceive. The difficulty involved in understanding some of these works is further increased by the fact that in contrast to the orderly flow of images found in the cinema, video permits distortions, reciprocal infiltrations, and simultaneous projection, and take more delight in daring intertextual references and transcultural translations. Nonetheless, the receptive spectator, who enters the museum leaving his customary viewing habits outside the door, those which bias him toward more traditional visual forms, and first and foremost, the convention of immediate and holistic viewing and contact, will not be slow in rearing his reward. Looking, and then looking again at these mixed artworks, in which time is introduced as an essential element of the aesthetic experience, he will come to make his own reading with the growing conviction that there is no single and exclusive interpretation.
Curated by Anna Kafetsi
Coordinator: Stamatis Schizakis