Thursday, October 27, 2011

Installation, Performance and Video

"Photography is not an art. Neither is painting, nor sculpture, literature or music. They are only different media for the individual to express his aesthetic feelings… You do not have to be a painter or a sculptor to be an artist. You may be a shoemaker. You may be creative as such. And, if so, you are a greater artist than the majority of the painters whose work is shown in the art galleries of today." - Alfred Stieglitz

I have had somewhat of a bias attitude toward installation, performance and video art. There are a few antecedents  to this bias. Being exposed to conceptual art in my early twenties, all through the 70s at NSCAD was a major influence, due to the fact that much of it I thought, was crap, and narcissistic indulgence. That's just my opinion and I am not saying it is correct or that any one need agree with it. I am far from an expert and am certainly not an art critic, nor do I aspire to be.

Much of the genre today is very tame compared to the 70s where anything and everything seemed to be the accepted discourse. 
In my opinion, when I consider noteworthy performance, installation and video artists, who's work I find compelling, the artists often share comparatively similar elements . They stand test of time, enable me to look at the world from a different perspective that challenges my thinking, and there is a continuity to them that contextualizes, transcends and possibly redefines  the past, present and future. I am reminded of artists such as Ai Wei Wei, Kevin Yates, Adam Goddard, Andy Goldsworthy, Krzystof Wodiczko, Joyce Wieland, to name a few. 

What I most appreciate about contemporary Installation, Performance  and Video art, like that of  Bill Viola, and Louise Bourgeois, is how it is utilized as a poignant and powerful tool, enabling socio- political commentary and change. Preconceived notions of what art is, are pushed beyond  confining boundaries, through the mindfulness of the present moment and process.

I am most interested in the spirituality of art work, and this is why Bill Viola appeals to me. Artists that invite and engage the personal into the public forum, can convict the conscience and nurture the soul. I am drawn to artists who lives become a large part of their art and art becomes an even larger part of life.

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