The exhibition Faces, which showcases eighteen works of artists who, for the most part, belong among the most prominent figures of videoart throughout its history – from the early days in the 1960’s until the present 21st century – manifests the strength of the alliance that has formed between face and video in the last fifty years. It lends a view on the specific character and possibilities of video and video installation and how they can broker new ways of representation of face in an image, but also on the many ways the face can work on many levels as an image.
Video and video installation made it possible to represent the face and the aspects of its meaning and perception that the older visual media could not capture – namely the movement of the face and the dynamism of its expression, and, by doing that, they permit the examination of its role as a distinctive visual medium. This has brought back to the centre of attention some of the traditional ‘big themes’ of visual art – the relationship between face and the Self, the examination of identity, emotions and their expression, or the representation of mind. The works that form the exhibition attest to the irreplaceable role video art presently holds in our reflection upon these fundamental categories of humanity. They also shows how the face – as an object, image ‘material’ and a phenomenon – became the primary means through which video can visually reflect its own pictoriality and the character of an audiovisual medium.
Juan Manuel Echavarría
Nam June Paik