Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Alienarium, 2021, courtesy of the artist.
The Year Ahead
in Moving-Image Art
2022 is shaping up to be another horizon-expanding year for moving-image art.
As the art world fully returns to its physical form, it brings with it limitless possibilities for transporting this innovative medium into the real world. The new year will see moving images dominating in-person cultural events, from the launch of a vast digital art museum to video-packed biennials and mind-bending immersive exhibitions.
Spotlight on South Korea (Ulsan Museum of Art, January)
South Korea has been the centre of the art world’s attention ever since Frieze announced it would be expanding its fair to Seoul in 2022. Adding to the buzz is the opening of a massive museum specialising in digital art in the south-eastern city of Ulsan. The Ulsan Museum of Art launches in January with a staggering five inaugural exhibitions, including a permanent collection featuring video art pioneer Nam June Paik’s seminal installation “Sistine Chapel”.
Nam June Paik, Sistine Chapel, 1993/2021 (installation view, SFMOMA); courtesy the Estate of Nam June Paik; © Estate of Nam June Paik; photo: Andria Lo
Urban takeovers (Light to Night Festival, Singapore, January 14–February 3)
Digital art takes centre stage in another Asian metropolis, this time in the form of a luminescent art festival. Taking place January 14–February 3 during Singapore Art Week, the Light to Night Festival will transform the city’s Civic District through spectacular installations responding to the theme of “New Ways of Seeing, Thinking and Being” — an event which promises to be a celebration of the moving image on a monumental scale.
Randy Chan, Fiona Tan, Finbarr Fallon, Faye Lim, Stanley Yong, I’m All Hands All Eyes, 2021
Image courtesy: Light to Night Festival, National Gallery Singapore
Dream Commission open to the public (Sondra Perry at Fondation Beyeler, February 12)
American artist Sondra Perry was marked as one of the most exciting emerging artists working with the moving image after winning the inaugural Dream Commission in May. The judges were captivated by her work Lineage for a Phantom Zone, and how it used video and distortion to intertwine themes of history, consciousness and memory. Perry will debut the final version of Lineage for a Phantom Zone at Basel’s Fondation Beyeler on February 12, with plans for the work to travel to the Serpentine in London.
Sondra Perry, 2020, Lineage for a Phantom Zone. Original winning submission for Dream Commission 2021. Courtesy Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme.
The natural world on screen (Thao Nguygen Phan at Tate St Ives, February 5–May 2; Neelon Crawford at Moma, closing Spring 2022)
February also sees two museum shows offering poignant reflections on the environment. The first, a solo exhibition of Vietnamese multimedia artist Thao Nguygen Phan, brings folklore-infused video works themed around the Mekong River to Tate St Ives; across the Atlantic, poetic explorations of ecological fragility play out at the MoMA, where the elemental films of experimental filmmaker Neelon Crawford are on display through to Spring.
Thao Nguyen Phan, First Rain, Brise-Soleil video still 2021. Courtesy of the artist. Produced by Han Nefkens Foundation.
Women behind the camera (Barbara Kruger at LACMA, March 20–July 17; Cinthia Marcelle at MACBA, July 15 2022–January 8 2023)
March brings the first of several career-spanning exhibitions opening in 2022 which highlight daring, camera-wielding female artists. A massive retrospective delves into the groundbreaking oeuvre of Barbara Kruger at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Multi-channel installations from the 1980s as well as recent video works will offer fascinating insight into the integral role that moving-image practices have played in the artist’s bold examination of mass media. In July Barcelona’s MACBA will also mount a major show of the Brazilian artist Cinthia Marcelle, whose films — which have depicted everything from street demonstrations to a fire-juggler blocking a busy intersection — document how subtle interventions transform everyday life.
Cinthia Marcelle, The Family in Disorder. Modern Art Oxford, 2018.
Photography: Ben Westoby
Multi-sensory experiences (Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster at Hyde Park, Spring)
In London’s Hyde Park, the first buds of spring will bloom alongside a fantastical audio-video installation commissioned by the Serpentine. Conceived by French multi-media artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, an artist known for blending sound and video projection to construct otherworldly environments, this immersive “Sensodrome” invites visitors to step into a science-fiction narrative and reevaluate their relationship with the planet.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Alienarium, 2021, courtesy of the Artist.
Video artists in Venice (Venice Biennale, April)
The 59th Venice Biennale is gearing up to be a vibrant showcase for the moving image with renowned video and multimedia artists Stan Douglas and Sigurour Guojonsson taking over the Canadian and Icelandic pavilions respectively. Pilvi Takala will develop her unique blend of performance and video for Finland, while Barbados-born Alberta Whittle, whose films and installations have interrogated urgent themes from colonialism and xenophobia to the pandemic, will bring powerful on-screen reflections to her presentation for Scotland.
Musical dialogues (Greek National Opera: The Artist on the Composer, May 6–8)
In May the moving image reaches operatic heights with The Artist on the Composer, an interdisciplinary project jointly run by NEON art foundation and the Greek National Opera which seeks to create dialogues between artists, composers and filmmakers. For this edition, the award-winning director Yorgos Lanthimos has created a short film starring Emma Stone which will be screened at the Stavros Niarchos Hall to a live score performed by the GNO orchestra.
Milestones for private collections (Julia Stoschek 15th anniversary exhibition, June 12– December 10)
There was a time when the notion of collecting digital or video art was met with skepticism. Today, private collections of moving-image art can be found all over the world — and in 2022 one of the largest will celebrate its 15th anniversary. The Julia Stoschek Collection, which first opened its doors in Dusseldorf in 2007, marks the occasion in June with a special exhibition curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist that traces the influence of gaming on time-based art.
STURTEVANT, Pacman, 2012, HD Video, 1′15″, color, sound. Video still. Courtesy of the Estate of STURTEVANT and Galerie Thaddaeus
A landmark retrospective at the RA (William Kentridge at RA, September)
Finally, London’s autumn art season kicks off in September with a sprawling William Kentridge retrospective at the Royal Academy. Best known for his animated films which offer sensitive reflections on the complex history of his native South Africa, the artist has continually questioned political and social structures around the world throughout his career. Among his most famous works on display will be “Notes Towards a Model Opera” (2015), a large video installation depicting a montage of different dance styles, from South African choreography to the classical ballet of Revolution-era China. This pulsating show rounds off what promises to be another thrilling year packed with moving image masterpieces and creative experimentation.
William Kentridge, Video still from Notes Towards a Model Opera, 2015.
Three channel HD film; 11 minutes 14 seconds. © William Kentridge.
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Delve further into stories of Inspiring Greatness.
A Brief History Of Moving Image Art: Part I
As moving image art enters a new era of heightened relevance, consistently reflecting our shared experiences, one of the main inspirations for the Dream Commission, so we look back to the humble origins of the medium to see how it has evolved from experimental novelty to a futuristic mainstay of contemporary art.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MOVING IMAGE ART: PART II
By the time of the Millennium, moving image art had infiltrated the art world. Artists like Pipilotti Rist and Bill Viola were becoming household names, Rist’s lavish large-scale installations and Viola’s theatrical ‘total environments’ had proven how moving image art works could create transfixing experiences that could extend beyond the screen.