6 JUNE 2008

Art | Basel, the world’s premier international art show for Modern and contemporary works, is proud to present the artist talk organized by VideoArtWorld: “How contemporary art would be without video?, that will take place on Friday, 6th of June from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Art Lobby, the contact platform in the Art Unlimited Hall of Art | Basel .

The influence of video in contemporary art and art history has been largely confined to a limited circuit of festivals and infrequent historical museum surveys, since only in the last 10 years has video become the “art of the present”.

In 1963, when Vostell exposed the refined New York art audience to his environment, Paik, then living in Germany , had his first exhibition: 11-20 March at Gallery Parnass in Wuppertal , run by architect Rolf Jährling in his private residence. The ten-day event, titled Music Electronic Television consisted of twelve altered TV sets showing unusual images, four adapted pianos in the same spirit of John Cage, and in the most genuine Fluxus Spirit, the head of a freshly-slaughtered ox hanging above the gallery’s entrance. The title of the exhibition, according to several articles on the artist, indicated his transition from music to the electronic image.

Paik’s first gallery exhibition in the US was two years later: “Electronic Art” at Galeria Bonino , New York City. The next year Marshall McLuhan would publish Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man with its radical view of the effects of electronic communications upon life in the twentieth century. Paik filled Bonino’s space with screens playing abstract patterns and/or noise. Through manipulation of sound track and image Paik made satirical commentaries on the politics and content of commercial television. Influenced by the Fluxus aesthetics, both artists were the pioneers.

Now 44 years later, video is still called “new media” and in many institutions video is still presented in “project rooms.” This panel will discuss the long trajectory of video as an art medium as well as how it has changed contemporary art and how moving images took over two-dimensional images reflecting on the stage of contemporary media society.


| Artist Talk | How contemporary art would be without video?

Moderated by Berta Sichel, Director of the Audiovisual Department at the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofia , of Madrid , Spain , it will count with the participation of the following artists:

Julião Sarmento , Artist, lives & works in Estoril.

Adrian Paci , Artist, lives & works in Milano.

Hans Op de Beeck , Artist, lives & works in Brussels .

Oleg Kulik , Artist, lives & works in Moscow .

Hiraki Sawa , Artist, lives & works in London .

Berta Sichel

Director of the Department of Audiovisuals (since March 2000) at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and Chief-Curator Film and Video, Berta Sichel is a renown international art curator and consultant, researcher, art and cultural writer, lecturer and instructor in the area of contemporary art, specialized in Media Arts, with an extensive knowledge of trends in art and art issues and sensitivity to diverse audiences. She has a very large trajectory in the field, as a writer for numerous art publications and as advisor to different foundations, cultural institutions, and other private and public collections on art acquisitions and exhibitions.

Julião Sarmento

Born in Lisbon , Portugal (1948), studied painting and architecture at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts. Began exhibiting film, video, sound, painting, sculpture, installation and multimedia in the seventies, but developed also several significant site-specific projects.

Has exhibited his work extensively in one-man and group shows. Julião Sarmento represented Portugal at the Venice Biennial in 1997. His work is represented in several museums and private collections.

Adrian Paci

Using a media such as video, installation, painting and photography Adrian Paci reflects upon an existential condition — dislocation, loss and the rediscovery of one’s origins with a sense immediacy and irony. His investigations lead him to question the role of the artist and the very nature of the work of art, in an ongoing, subtle celebration of everyday life.

Paci studied at the Academy of Arts in Tirana , Albania . He has had numerous solo-exhibition in different countries such Germany , England , Italy and USA . Furthermore, Paci represented Albania in the first Albanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and participated in the Venice Biennale in 2005.

Hans Op de Beeck

The multi-disciplinary visual artist Hans Op de Beeck (1969, Belgium ) builds and stages contemporary, fictive urban and household locations, situations and characters that seem very familiar to the viewer. These include both lonely spots for reflection and crowded spaces, populated at times by bungling characters who tell us something about the way we live today, the paths we follow and how we attempt-with great ineptitude – to deal with time, space and each other.

In recent years his work has been exhibited on numerous occasions in cities including New York , London , Venice , Basel , Vienna , Shanghai , Paris , Amsterdam and Antwerp . From September 11 through November 16, his most recent installation, the monumental ‘Location (6)’, will be part of the Singapore Biennale 2008.

Oleg Kulik

Ukranian performance artist, sculptor, photographer and curator. Kulik creates a symbolic set of parameters, which define the environment the dog-personae will inhabit and then devise a series of actions that unfold as a response. The artist describes the dialogue within his practice as “a conscious falling out of the human horizon” which places him on hands and knees. His intention is to describe what he sees as a crisis of contemporary culture, a result of an overly refined cultural language that leads to barriers between individuals. Thus, he simplifies his performance language to the basic emotive of a domestic animal.

At the Interpol group exhibition in Stockholm in 1996, he performed in the gallery chained next to a sign labelled ‘dangerous’. An international scandal occurred when he not only attacked members of the public who chose to ignore the sign, in one case biting a man, but also attacked other artworks within the exhibition, partially destroying some pieces. For Kulik this was an excusable act, as there was a warning label attached to his performance that people chose to disregard. His intention was to divulge his angst of the current cultural crisis through the violent anger of a dog.

Hiraki Sawa

Born in 1977, Ishikawa , Japan , moved to England at the age of 18 years old to study fine art, focusing on sculpture. Since then he has been interested in the production of time based installations using electronics, lights, multiple media. In the MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art he started using video in his work, still influenced by his background in sculpture, his work in audiovisual interestingly seems to capture 2D images from 3D spaces and objects, rather than cinematographic time and sequence. “Since I think of working in video in sculptural terms, I make the video image as I would a tangible object.”

His dreams of fantastic domestic situations, produced in his charming Londinense apartment resemble lucid dreams narrated in a codified language, based in a pictographic alphabet often repeated in his works. Hiraki exhibiting his works worldwide including UK , Japan , USA , Mexico , France and Germany .