Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
1 February - 8 June 2014
Featuring the work of twenty-five Australian and international artists, IMPACT is a selection of recent Gallery acquisitions with a focus on video, video installation and soundscape works, along with recent sculpture, paintings and works on paper. All play out in one form or another various modes of impact, including the physical, psychological, perceptual and the political.
Video art has been developing since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its original form was analog video tape which was then, largely, superseded with the advent of digital technology in the 1990s as hard disks, CD-ROMs, and then DVDs came to prominence. Digital video with its access to control technology gave artists an expanded field of creative possibility. They could abandon or reimagine the conventions of montage, narrative, sound, duration and the relationship between moving images and audiences employed by the motion picture industry. These technical advances gave artists the option to edit and manipulate moving image sequences themselves instead of relying on expensive editing studios.
As IMPACT demonstrates, the increasing democratisation of the medium has laid the ground for some of the more compelling art of our time. In it, major international innovators such as Jesper Just and Michael Snow come together with Australian artists engaging with the aesthetics of sound and moving image, such as Daniel Crooks, Gabriella and Silvana Mangano and Angelica Mesiti. The range of work on show spans simple projection to video installation that uses video to create immersive environments. These include Michael Snow’s meditative recording of a natural event, Richard Grayson’s performance documentation, and the ambiguous visual poetics of Jesper Just.
Within this, works by Australian artists variously deal with psychological, emotional and physical states that reflect on ways of being, doing and seeing. For instance, Marco Fusinato, Heath Franco and Stuart Ringholt individually engage with confronting performative roles that channel socio-cultural critique or personal catharsis, sometimes through extreme explorations of soundscapes.
Politics is also a key theme in the exhibition. Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi’s sculptural installation Save Manhattan 01, 2003-20044 poignantly reflects on the tragic events of 9/11. It eloquently counterpoints the visual poetics of Turkish artist Hale Tenger’s Beirut 2005-2007 that meditates on another kind of terrorist event, the assassination of Rafiq Hariri in 2005, through her illegal but haunting documentation of the hotel near where the event had occurred.
The combination of this wide variety of work is not intended to literally illustrate the title theme, but instead offers a range of compelling viewing experiences. Each work has its own power; each work creates its own impact.