The endless possibilities of the visual narrative come to the fore in the Aesthetica Art Prize 2018’s shortlist for the field of Video & Performance. The three selected artists, whose work is among the 12 finalists on view at the York exhibition, allow their imaginations free rein across imagery, story and elements drawn from the entire history of the visual arts, moving seamlessly from the infinite potential opened up by today’s audio and visual technologies, to the reassertion of the human body itself at the heart of the work.
Electra Lyhne-Gold takes her inspiration from the cinema, considering how viewers respond emotionally to characters on the screen. She works both behind and in front of the lens, staging herself in surreal, fictional narratives. In her shortlisted work Lost In Translation, she makes use of her ability to mimic speakers on the television, regardless of whether she understands the language they are using, simultaneously through lip reading. Here, she demonstrates this ability but removes her voice and reinserts the original audio, so each character appears to speak through her.
In I Am One, Kenji Ouellet juxtaposes spoken quotes about individuality, both by celebrities and unknown speakers, with scenes of densely-populated cities and anonymous urban landscapes. It is a portrait of a globalising world where the majority of the population now live in cities and increasingly interact online. Though the artist stresses the viewer’s freedom to interpret the work in their own way, it is amongst other things, a retelling of collective and individual perspectives on singularity and a call to the viewer to remember what makes them distinguishable even in the midst of such overwhelming crowds.
Artist filmmaker Noémi Varga applies her background in documentary film making and her abiding interest in the representation of memory and history to a personal family story in The Happiest Barrack. It is a short film based upon her grandmother’s life in Soviet-era Hungary, using documentary techniques in the form of the audio, a monologue recounting this personal story of life and love. It combines with emotive visuals to create a universal resonance and reveal how life under Soviet communism colonised the souls of a whole generation.
Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2018 is York Art Gallery until 30 September. For more information, click here.
1.Electra Lyhne-Gold, Lost in Translation.