CLIENT: K20 – Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
FEBRUARY 2000 bis JUNE 2000
As the title ICH IST ETWAS ANDERES – KUNST AM ENDE DES 20. JAHRHUNDERTS (“Me is something else—Art at the end of the 20th century”) suggests, works by 50 contemporary artists from the last 35 years were selected for this exhibition, that is, images, sculptures, objects, photographs, video works and installations dealing with question of the individual, of the subject, of the ego and of identity.
The background: The general availability of video technology, especially of the first portable video recorders, led to a real boom of art experiments with this new medium in the early 1970s. But many artists, especially female ones, first used the video technology exclusively as a means of documentation for their activities and performances that were still strongly influenced by the Fluxus movement. The new way artistic expression termed “video art”, however, remained controversial for a long time and owed much to the tradition of happening, activities and décollage. The pioneers of video art would present impretinences and absurdities by by taking everyday actions out of their context, thus exposing well-known behaviours and fixed codes in isolation. Often, the early video works document actions where the investigation of the own identity was closely connected to physical borderline experiences.
Like hardly any other medium, video has not only changed the horizons of perception, but also initiated various practical self-attempts. In no other form of media statement, the artist was present so often as object, model or protagonist as in the video art. In this way, video was connected in an ambivalent manner to the staging of corporeality. The discrepancy between the non-corporeal—electronic—essence of the medium and the emphasis on sensual-physical perception became a main characteristic of video art. The examination of the relationship between the body image, the self and identity became a typical feature of the genealogy of video art in the following years.