Open Prize 2011 Exhibition demonstrates the creative scope of a seemingly restrictive medium
The Open Prize 2011 celebrates artists working in the medium of video painting. The current exhibition in Shoreditch Town Hall not only showcases the work of up and coming artists, but also traces the history of the movement, which is now in its 10th year. It is a strict set of rules that distinguishes video painting from the broader genre of video art; the work must be created using a stationary camera, with no sound and no editing. As the Open Prize demonstrates, this limitation focuses and strengthens the experience; by abandoning both meaning and narrative, you rediscover how to see.
Our familiarity with the manipulated images of TV and film makes these video paintings appear even more unusual; the camera here becomes a single gaze and the image itself becomes the spectacle. The dark basement setting of Shoreditch Town Hall heightens this experience; whether it is the the beauty of the hypnotic journeys of birds above the rooftops of Istanbul in the work of Sara Bjarland, the delicate interaction of ‘fluid chance’ in the inky tank of Susie David’s work or the vast landscapes of Montana explored by Roz Mortimer, the video paintings are bright unavoidable windows of rediscovery drawing you in.
It is Sidsel Christensen though, the winner of this year’s Open Prize, who helps you discover the intimate relationship between the artist and the subject; she forces you to acknowledge that ‘emotive visions can be linked to the visual language of abstraction in art.’
The other artists featured in this years Open Prize are as follows: David Brazier & Kelda Free, Sara Bjarland, Susie David, Tania Dolvers, Mark Maxwell, Roz Mortimer and Erin Newell.
Despite the self-imposed limits, the diversity of these artists’ works proves the potential of this new medium; you are left in anticipation of what will come next. Text: Olivia Mull © ArtLyst 2011