The Top 10 Film/Video Artists on Artsy

Artsy Editorial
Oct 13, 2013 2:46PM

“When you’re making video, you’re giving structure to time.” —Bill Viola

Just in time for our partnership with Moving Image, the only fair devoted to film and video art, we thought we’d take a look at the top ten most popular artists on Artsy who work in video and film. We’re only scratching the surface though—explore all of the medium and discover artists you never knew worked in video. (Richard Serra anyone?)

10 | William Kentridge

Anti Mercator, 2010-2011
Goodman Gallery

Arguably South Africa’s most famous artist, Kentridge is best known for the inventive process by which he draws and erases with charcoal, recording his compositions at each state. He displays animations of the looped images alongside their highly worked and reworked source drawings, which reference the post-Apartheid concerns of his native country.

9 | Sue de Beer


Exploring ideas of imagined memories and the phenomena of light, de Beer uses repeated patterns, a saturated palette, and cinematic devices to construct haunting, dreamlike installations. Incorporating video, sculpture, and projections, her narratives are meant to evoke familiar-yet-intangible associations.

8 | Sam Taylor-Johnson

Pietà, 2001
White Cube

In her lush, highly charged photographs and films, Sam Taylor-Wood examines “who we are and how we work through our identity, how we perceive ourselves in the world,” as she describes. Her works abound with psychological and physical tension, often placing their characters in allegorical scenarios.

Douglas Gordon

Through a Looking Glass, 1999
Gagosian Gallery

From Hollywood films to scientific footage to classical literature, Gordon takes seemingly familiar imagery and twists it with a deft, often ironic touch. His best known work is probably 24-Hour Psycho, for which he slowed down Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film into a full-day duration, absurdly eliminating all elements of suspense.

6 | Yang Fudong

One of China’s best known filmmakers, Yang draws influence from his training as a painter and photographer to craft his films—sequences of slow-moving, tableau-like dreamscapes with figures cast in surrealistic scenes. His works are more evocative of moods and impressions than any clear narrative; as he says: “There is no result, no answer.”

Nam June Paik

The father of video art as we know it, Paik made works that appropriated and distorted mass media, including newsreel, concert footage, and commercials. He famously said that this newfound medium would “enable us to shape the TV screen canvas as precisely as Leonardo, as freely as Picasso, as colorfully as Renoir.”

Sarah Morris

Chicago, 2011
White Cube

Although best-known for her urban- and architecture-focused abstractions, Morris translates this fascination into three (and four) dimensions through her filmic portraits of cities. Her projects have tracked the urban plans of cities ranging from Beijing to Las Vegas.

Tony Oursler

A pioneer of new media art since the 1970s, Oursler is best known for his video projections and installations that explore technology’s effects on the human mind. He invites viewers into mini-narratives with jarring juxtapositions and bizarre effects—a talking streetlight, a five dollar bill with a talking Abraham Lincoln.

Bill Viola

Chapel of Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures, 2013
Blain | Southern

One of today’s best-known video artists, Viola creates works that combine filmed images and music in what he calls “total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound.” Often presented in multi-channel installations, his scenes invoke both spiritual and artistic traditions.

Christian Marclay

The Clock, 2010
White Cube

An obvious first-place finisher, Marclay transforms sound and music into visible, physical form through his installations, photographs, and videos. His best-known work is The Clock, the wildly popular 24-hour video-montage capturing the time of day through over 1,000 film clips.

Explore more Film/Video Art on Artsy.

Artsy Editorial