Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Matt Stokes:"SINGLE CHANNEL - RECENT VIDEO WORKS", Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin


Selected by Christopher Eamon

6. September – 4. Oktober 2008
Opening Reception:
Friday, September 5, 7-9 pm on the occasion of "abc art berlin contemporary"
Alongside the opening of Peter Rogier's solo show on Friday, September 5, 2008 between 7 and 9 pm, Galerie Thomas Schulte is presenting the project "Single Channel - Recent Video Works" with nine young international positions selected by Christopher Eamon.

Single-channel video making has had a relatively long history. Partially eclipsed in the 1990s by video installa-tions and video environments, the medium today still has an immediacy and accessibility that larger more com-plicated multi-channel works do not have. The works included in the presentation "Single Channel - Recent Video Works" at Galerie Thomas Schulte reveal perhaps even a sophistication that was not possible in the 70s through mid 90s without the mass availability of more complex software. The selection of works is an eclectic but refreshing look at some current practices. This selection avoids of the decades-long practice of video performance as well as an even longer practice of using appropriated film and TV images to produce new works. That which unites the selection is the artists' investment of time and energy to realize a unique vision in single channel. Some of the works are meant to be projected, yet all of the works take flexibility of the medium as a given.
Works such as those by Matt Stokes, Alejandro Vidal, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, and Kris Lefcoe take their starting point squarely in the heart of youth culture. Whether mass or sub-cultural in their subject matter, the spirit of youth in dance, music, eroticism and revolt is most evident. Zhenchen Liu and Taysir Batniji poeti-cally speak of changes in the contemporary world. Avoiding a direct message, the works take on current global issues from the point of view of the individual, which is not to say that these works bare no emotional or political impact. Indeed these are not documentaries and therefore do not in bad faith attempt neutrality. As art-works they speak and release their images to the necessa-rily subjective responses proper to all viewers. Similarly, the openness of the tableau-like work by Adad Hannah opens up fear, possibly even humour in its quiet enduring way. On the surface the videos shown by Alex Hubbard and Elisabetta Benassi have little to do with each other, yet in tipping the camera to the horizontal position looking down at the artist's imaginative activities in Hubbard's video, for instance, or the slow cumulative filming of actual demolition sites, shifts the horizontal-that which is normal at your feet to an eye line perspective becoming vertical moving images without imitating painting in any obvious way.

Christopher Eamon is curator of the Pamela and Richard Kramlich Collection, which is one of the largest private collections for media art, and director of the New Art Trust in San Francisco for promotion of media art. Before he was Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He has curated numerous exhibitions with video and media art for e.g. PS1/MoMA, ICA, London, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

image: Matt Stokes
Cipher, 2006 - 2007
Super 16mm film and audio transferred to digibeta/DVD
Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK