Open is a London gallery dedicated to the video painting: a new form of video art developed by the Artscape Project.
The origins of the Artscape Project can be found in 2001 when the first video paintings were shot by Hilary Lawson, a philosopher and documentary film maker, in an attempt to escape the limitations of the traditional video narrative. Subsequently, a collective of artists, including William Raban, Sanchita Islam, Nina Danino, Tina Keane, and Isabelle Inghilieri, was formed to develop the video painting medium.
Video paintings are filmed in a single take with a stationary camera. They contain no edits or subsequent manipulation. Video paintings show the world in real time. The video painting is non-narrative. There is no dialogue, no sound. In contrast to the film and video tradition which has been dominated by the provision of meaning and understanding, the video painting aims to escape our cultural and perceptual closures, freeing the viewer to play in the openness of the image.
Lawson's philosophical approach and aesthetic theory led him to seek ways to explore being independent of the cultural accident of our particular understanding. It is the abandonment of narrative which enables the video painting to explore the character of experience. Through the video painting the artist leads us into a way of seeing which has no determinable meaning but which carries a unique emotional hue. Video paintings challenge us to let go of the endless search for closure or understanding and approach instead what it is to experience the world.
In 2003, technology was developed that enables video paintings to be combined into collections in such a manner that they play in intelligent sequences, according to criteria determined by the artists. Unlike traditional video art, the collections are thereby freed from the necessity to loop, however long they play. Thereby overcoming the issue of repetition which has constrained the potential of video art.
Since 2004 a growing number of artists have become involved in the project, exploring the potential of the video painting and the collections that can be built from them.
Open Gallery launched in 2005 and the first public installation took place in the UK later in the same year. Exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (2006), the Sketch gallery (2007), the Hayward Gallery (2007), the Institue of Art and Ideas (2008&9) and Shunt Vaults (2009) have followed.
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