The exhibition highlights the important contribution that artists have made to contemporary political debates using the twin media of video art and irreverent humour. It features landmark works by artists who have redefined the role of satire in video art and forms part of a season of avant-garde film and video works being shown at major british galleries in Winter 2003/2004.
Martha Rosler, Jenny Holzer, Tracey Moffatt, Doug Hall, Coco Fusco, Kip
Fulbeck, David Blandy
'Nothing If Not Satirical' highlights the important contribution that artists have made to contemporary political debates using the twin media of video art and irreverent humour. It features landmark works by artists who have redefined the role of satire in video art and forms part of a season of avant-garde film and video works being shown at major British galleries in Winter 2003/2004. Other venues include Tate Britain ('Artists' Film in BritainÂ¹, taking place throughout 2003 and 2004), Tate Liverpool ('Art, Lies and Videotape: Exposing Performance'), The National Gallery ('Bill Viola: The PassionsÂ¹) and Millais Gallery, Southampton Institute ('Unlimited Edition: Film & Video Work'). The exhibition is organised by The Nunnery and curated by Pryle Behrman.
Artists & Curator
Martha Rosler has, since the mid-1960s, been a major pioneer in the world of video art. Articulated with deadpan wit, her work investigates how socio-economic realities and political ideologies dominate ordinary life. Presenting critical analyses in accessible forms, she merges performance, documentary and mass media images. Her rigorous artistic practice, and her contributions to on-going critical discussions relating to contemporary art and social theory, have profoundly influenced an entire generation of younger artists. She lives and works in New York.
Tracey Moffatt is probably Australia's most successful artist internationally. She has had over 50 solo exhibitions and her films have been screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Her work is regularly featured in major international festivals such as Venice Biennale (1997), Site Santa Fe (1997), SÃ£o Paulo Biennale (1996 & 1998) and Sydney Biennale (1992/93, 1996 and 2000). In 1997 a major mid-career retrospective was held at the Dia Center for the Arts, New York, and in 1999 a large survey was held at Fundacio "la Caixa" in Barcelona and the Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris. 'LipÂ¹ is a video collage of HollywoodÂ¹s favourite role for black women: the maid. Sassy or sweet, sarcastically attentive or flippantly dismissive, the performers who play them steal every scene they are in. Giving lip was one of the few art forms in which Hollywood has allowed black actresses to shine. But shine they do. Moffatt lives and works in Sydney and New York.
Jenny Holzer (born in Ohio, lives in New York) is internationally renowned for her linguistic interventions in every aspect of the social arena, from parking meters to t-shirts to billboards to television. In 'Televised TextsÂ¹, Holzer adopts the form and language of commercial messages to disrupt communication, presenting texts that are designed to stimulate thought, with humour, and inspire a critical attitude in an often-passive audience. As in all of HolzerÂ¹s work, 'Televised Texts' presents deceptively simple sequences that mix provocative social commentary with poetic reflections.
Doug Hall is the chairman of the Department of Performance/Video at the San Francisco Art Institute and is the co-editor (with Sally Jo Fifer) of Illuminating Video: An Essential Guide to Video Art (1990). His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, New York; Kunsthaus, Zurich; American Film Institute National Video Festival, Los Angeles; ICA, Boston; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kijkhuis, The Hague; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. He has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship; and a grant from the Contemporary Art Television Fund. In 'The Amarillo News Tapes', Hall became a presenter on a small, midwestern television station in order to draw attention to the oddities of language and artificially created theatrics that are a part of television news. He lives and works in San Francisco.
Coco Fusco (born in Cuba, lives in New York) is an interdisciplinary artist and social theorist whose performances and video work have been seen throughout the United States, Spain, Britain, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. 'The Couple in the Cage: Guatianaui Odyssey' documents a series of performances in which Coco Fusco and Guillermo GÃ³mez-Pena decked themselves out in primitive costumes to appear before the public as Â³undiscovered American-IndiansÂ² locked in a golden cage - an exercise in faux anthropology which The Los Angeles Times called: 'One of the smartest commentaries yet on stillÂrampant cultural and historical myopia.'
Kip Fulbeck is a performance and video artist based in southern California. >From a Cantonese, English, Irish and Welsh background, he explores the contemporary Asian American and Hapa (multiracial Asian) experience through humorous autobiographical stories. Fulbeck taps into the ambiguities of his identity while challenging the boundaries of "identity" as a category. An inveterate storyteller, his multi-layered, nuanced tales are presented with an irony that is grounded in his own blurred cultural footing and fascination with pop culture. When asked to summarise his landmark video 'Sex, Love and Kung FuÂ¹, showing in this exhibition, Fulbeck wrote: 'Join two crazed kung fu film fanatics as they argue over Asian American masculinity (yes!), Asian American media representation (no!), and the homoerotic subtexts of martial arts movies (what?).' Fulbeck has won several major awards at international film and video festivals around the world.
David Blandy was born in London, where he also currently lives and works. He completed his MA in Fine Art Media at Slade School of Art earlier this year and his work has already featured in several important exhibitions, including 'BeckÂ¹s Student Prize for Film and Video 2002' at the ICA (in which he won first prize), 'Nothing Special' at FACT (2003), 'LUX Open 2003Â¹ and 'New Contemporaries 1999'. He has recently completed a film commission for Artangel and will begin an artist's residency at Grizedale Arts next year. 'From the Underground' shows Blandy travelling on LondonÂ¹s Tube while extrovertly miming along to a CD by the Wu-Tang Clan (to the bafflement of his fellow passengers). His work touches upon many of the questions raised by multiculturalism and notions of ethnic identity. Is it always wrong for one culture to usurp the language of another? Can this ever be a celebration rather than exploitation?
Pryle Behrman is a critic and curator who lives and works in London. He writes regularly for many of Britain's leading art magazines on a wide range of topics, although in recent years he has specialised more and more on the history and practice of video art. He has recently joined the Nunnery Gallery as its Curator of Experimental Film & Video.
The Nunnery is part of the Bow Arts Trust. The Bow Arts Trust occupies two buildings opposite the historic St Mary Atta le Bow Church. One site is an old factory built in 1818 and the other, which houses The Nunnery gallery, was converted from a disused Carmelite nunnery built around 1850. The Bow Arts Trust was established in 1995 as a cultural facility for the education and enjoyment of the artists and residents of Tower Hamlets and its adjoining boroughs, and to national and international audiences. The Trust has established and manages The Nunnery gallery, over 100 affordable artists' studios, and runs a London-wide educational programme involving thousands of young people and adults each year.
Private View: Thursday 8 January 2004, 6.30pm Â 9.30pm
Exhibition Dates: Friday 9 January Â Saturday 7 February 2004
Opening Times: Thursday Â Saturday, 1pm-5pm
Location: The Nunnery, 181-183 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ, T: 020 8983 9737, F: 020 8980 7770 nearest stations: Bow Road (Underground) and Bow Church (DLR)
181-183 Bow Road