My Highlights from Moving Image London
This year’s edition of Moving Image in London features a great number of good works. I’ve been particularly drawn by the works of Cliff Evans (Flag) or Jonathan Monaghan (Mothership), for their ability to create compelling visual storytelling through the use of CGI, video realism and video game elements. I also like works such as Jessica Faiss’s Solitude or Miia Rinne’s Sea, where the visual oscillates between video and photography to create an almost impressionist field of view. I would then mention the different takes on cinematography: Alaa Edris’s Kharareet for its expressionist aura, Ewa Partum’s Tautological Cinema for its pure yet filmic conceptualism, or the rhythmic qualities in Maya Zack’s Black & White Rule. It was a pleasure to see Milica Tomic on the list of participating artists – I am Milica Tomic continues to be one of the most powerful works on the construction of one’s identity, with profound political implications, using the body as the most expressive medium.
Yet if I were to choose my favourite work, I’d have a hard time choosing between Jasmina Cibic’s Fruits of our Land and Shen Chaofang’s Framed. They are both highly narrative works and they both focus on questions of identity and representation, the relation to power and the political contradictions underlying the constructions of identity. I appreciate both the conceptual and the filmic qualities of these two works. Jasmina Cibic re-enacts transcripts found in family archives of politicians; in doing so, she re-writes history, she writes over history, which is one of the defining elements in East European contemporary art. On the other hand, Shen Chaofang’s Framed refers to a personal drama seen through the lenses of a new technical aesthetics. The artist appeals to film and painting to create a unique setting where illusions and faith describe the bitter and conflicting encounter between law, politics and power.
I think moving image-based art is on the verge of an important transformation and any collector looking to buy moving image-based art needs to be mindful of this. A new generation of artists, who basically grew up with technology, video gaming and new media, addresses a completely new ideological criticism. In doing so, these artists subvert the symbols, functions and meanings of contemporary culture, with CGI being used to undermine the power of media.
But some general advices would be:
- don’t hire any art advisor – go with your own instinct
- try to understand a work yourself before rushing to buy a piece on someone else’s advice
- there are no rules for buying moving image-based art – buy what YOU like
- buy only videos you think you’ll enjoy watching for a long time
- take your time to watch more moving image-based artists
There are a lot of moving image-based artists to watch. Earlier this year, when in Berlin, I saw two extraordinary pieces by Omer Fast, Continuity and 5000 Feet is the Best. Then I saw a lot of good artists at the Venice Biennial: Akram Zaatari in Lebanon’s pavilion, Camille Henrot in the main exhibition, Miao Xiaochun in China’s pavilion or Jesper Just in Denmark’s pavilion are just a few of them. However, I think the most impressive work I saw in Venice was Richard Mosse’s The Enclave, it is one of the best moving image-based works currently on display. And two of the artists I always enjoy watching are Reynold Reynolds and Mihai Grecu, I find their narratives and cinematic approach quite unique.