Action Reaction: Video Installations
Detroit Institute of Arts
July 3, 2009 – January 3, 2010
With the advent of video as an art form, artists began to capture the fleeting interval between an action and its effect. As time-based work evolved, art was no longer confined to the tradition of stop-action records used by painting and sculpture. Action Reaction highlights five videos that examine this causal relationship and document the evolution of video over four decades.
Video pioneer Bruce Nauman (American, born 1941) explores the body in space with Bouncing in the Corner, no. 1, (1968) contending that, “… whatever I was doing in the studio was art.” In two videos made near Oaxaca, Mexico, Ana Mendieta (Cuban-American, 1948–85) records performances using gun powder, fireworks, the human form and nature. The Swiss duo Peter Fischli (born 1952) and David Weiss (born 1946), amuse and delight with their continuous motion installation using household goods in The Way Things Go (1987). Video master Bill Viola (American, born 1951) takes on issues of immortality and the conflict between human will and the autonomic nervous system in Nine Attempts to Achieve Immortality (1996).
When viewed in the context of one to another, these works pose questions about the temporal and mysterious nature of human existence.
Organized by the DIA, these installations have been generously underwritten by the Dr. and Mrs. George Kamperman Fund.