From the beginning, video art was captivating and intriguing. Moving-image art has gained numerous followers and fans, and it is still in development.
But what is video art? Who are the talents who revolutionized the world of art by presenting their work? Where can you find their masterpieces? Keep reading because we are bringing you a helpful guide that will give you all the answers.
Welcome to the world of a unique form of art.
What is video art?
The world of art has been changed after the appearance of video art. A new type of contemporary art is not only an alone art form but also a great tool of expression in art installations.
During the art movement, different forms of art have been established. The video art had its introduction in the early 1960s and instantly became a popular form of art among artists of the time. They used inexpensive videotape recorders to represent themselves on television in Western society. It has become a cheap way to promote yourself, outside of corporations. The videotapes were short and often non-narrative, and you could find them playing through videocassette recorders or broadcasting over public airways. However, after a great expansion, video art became a new and popular platform where artists began to create their own voice of creativity.
Today, video art is a separate art form that has its own rules and conventions. It includes different forms of art such as gallery installations with television sets and projectors, performance art recordings, etc. Using a video camera as the main tool, artists create not only interesting video clip art but also various video performances, video game art, etc. Video art has become in rank equal to other mediums.
Video Art Versus Movies
Even though video art is an individual art form similar to the cinema, many features distinguish it from movies. First of all, video art is usually very short. There is no drama, no narrative or conversation. It doesn’t follow a traditional story arc that you would expect from the movie. It simply guides you along with the images. On the other hand, a film is known for its actors, plot, and dialogue. An average movie contains various motion picture conventions.
Finally, artists use video art as an autonomous way of expressing their abstract and sometimes odd work of art.
Best Video Art Masterpieces
After explaining what video art is and clarifying the features that make it different from movies, it’s time for inspiration. Keep reading and discover the most popular video art masterpieces and their artists. Indulge yourself in the background story and be part of this abstract form of art.
Bill Viola – Five Angels For The Millennium
One of the pioneering figurines of video art and probably the superstar of its field is Bill Viola. This video, sound and a digital artist was born in 1951 in New York and from the beginning; he shook the field of video art. Viola is well-known for his room-sized installations with multiple screens of images and sounds. Due to his studies of Eastern cultures, his works of art are marked with themes about spirituality, humanity, death, etc. Portraying subjects such as giving birth, drowning in the water or being engulfed in flames, Viola is showing the fight with nature by using his video art.
One of his most famous artworks is Five Angels for the Millennium. The installation contains five videos projected directly onto the walls of the dark gallery space. Each video features a male figure rising out and plunging into a pool of water, at irregular intervals. It is a slow-motion action with changing colors from blue to dark red. All videos are titled with a specific name: Departing Angel, Birth Angel, Fire Angel, Ascending Angel and Creating Angel. Viola used a strong spiritual motif to emphasize his concerns about unknown dimensions and the borders between the finite human bodies and infinite cosmos.
You can find his work all around the world. It is often shown not only in galleries and museums but also in churches and temples. The British Tate Gallery purchased this particular one.
To find out more about his exhibitions, visit his webpage and check out the schedule.
Pipilotti Rist – Worry Will Vanish Horizon
Under the artistic name of Pipilotti Rist is hiding a Swiss video artist Elisabeth Charlotte Rist born in 1962. Rist uses video art to make statements about the human body, sexuality, gender, and pop culture. She also emphasizes the matter of nature and the environment. Her first breakout hit was ‘I’m Not a Girl Who Misses Much’ made in 1986 while she was still an art student.
However, one of her greatest works of art is Worry Will Vanish Horizon. Using a video camera, Rist created a disorienting and magnificent journey inside the human body. Presented on two-scale screens, Worry Will Vanish Horizon is a kaleidoscope of colors and images. One moment, the camera explores the body’s surface such as skin, eyeballs, body hair, etc. The next minute, it shows extreme body’s close-ups and then it jumps to the world of nature. Following amazing spider nets, fluffy clouds, and luscious greenery, Rist emphasizes the correlation of the human body and the world at large.
Before entering the installation and watching her video art, visitors are required to remove their shoes. The whole composition of this installation is set up to show the power of video moments in art from several perspectives. That’s why you can choose to lay down or sit around while enjoying this visual imagery. For a completely relaxing atmosphere, soft ambient music accompanies the installation.
Fun fact about this video art: Rist uses principles of autogenic training, a psychotherapy technique to improve relaxation.
Nam June Paik – Electronic Superhighway
The next great name when talking about video art masterpieces is Nam June Paik. This talented composer and performer had been the first to break a barrier between technology and art. He was born in 1932 in South Korea. Since childhood, he draws inspiration from art and music. Paik was also the first one to use the video as the artistic medium by creating his exhibition ‘Exposition of Music – Electronic Television’ in 1963. During his lifetime, he collaborated with other great names such as Bill Viola, Yoko Ono, John Cage, etc. Moreover, due to his numerous provocative and innovative works of art, Paik got a nickname ‘A father of video art’.
The Electronic Superhighway is probably one of his most famous installations artworks. This piece of video art was made from Paik’s fascination with the transmission. He used video cameras to create visual material, and video synthesizers and video pattern generators to create a video signal. His equipment mixed video collages of abstract patterns and pure, live images with pre-recorded and computer-generated material. The Electronic Superhighway represents a hypothetical future television channel where people can communicate and see each other through satellite transmission.
Find this legendary video art installation in the Smithsonian Art Museum and experience technology in a new way.
Andrew Thomas Huang – Doll Face
Andrew Thomas Huang is one of the modern video art creators worth mentioning. This Chinese – American artist won various prizes for his works of art. His work was also nominated as Best of YouTube in 2007 and seen by more than six million people! The technicolor video clip art ‘Solipsist’ won the Special Jury Prize for Experimental Short Film at Sundance in 2012.
However, Huang’s most recognizable video art creation is ‘Doll Face’. It shows a machine with a woman (doll) face that searches for a satisfactory visage on the television screen. In other words, a robot machine is struggling to build its own identity. By creating this artwork, Huang wanted to emphasize misplaced desires and identities, influenced by the technological future. This unsettling and inventive video was made in 2006 and since then it has been a strong critique of social media’s influence on people’s self-image.
Today, Andrew Thomas Huang not only creates his own work of art but also directs adverts for Google and Lexus, as well as music videos for some of the most popular musicians.
Doug Aitken – Sleepwalkers
Doug Aitken is an American video artist with a unique ability to transform the ordinary architectural surface into vivid platforms. He was born in 1968 in California and showed interest in the world of art at a young age. His work is often based on multiple channels, so it is exposed indoors and outdoors as well.
Sleepwalkers is also one of his most famous video artworks. It was presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and gained popularity. The projections were displayed on the exterior of the museum’s building, as the main goal was to be visible from the street. This cool video art installation follows an ordinary day in the life of sleepwalkers. At the same time, Aitken made an event inside the museum where he presented auctioneers, live drummers, and Cat Power performance. It was a complete experience of art.
Today, Aitken’s huge opus of artworks vary from photography and sculpture to narrative films and architectural inventions.
Sword Art Online Video Game
Let’s not forget about a unique form of art; video game art. One of the most popular ones is definitely the Sword Art Online video game. The title of the first video game adaptation is Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment and it was published for PlayStation Portable. The game follows the storyline of the Japanese novel of the same name but with alternate ways. Respectively, the players can choose protagonists Kirito or Asuna Yuuki as they remain fighting in Sword Art Online. After that, video game sequels have been released all with different storylines, 3D characters, and various experiences.
This popular multiplayer online game was invented in Japan and it has a strong cultural impact. It encourages strategy planning, analytical thinking, and innovation. Furthermore, virtual reality was never so appealing as nowadays, so it’s no wonder that the game gained incredible popularity.
What do you think about video art? Do you have a favorite artist? Let us know in the comments below!