The American Tony Oursler (1957) is one of the most important media artists. His works deal critically with the increasingly blurred line between reality and the illusionary world created by the media society. Oursler has expanded the methods of video art and created an entire narrative art form, which is a fascinating combination of video, drama and sculptural installation.
Tony Oursler’s retrospective exhibition includes works from 1980 to 2005. In his earliest videos, Oursler used traditional techniques and methods. In later video installations, however, Oursler has separated the moving image from the screen, projecting them on any background, often using the available space or surfaces, and buildings. Oursler is intrigued by the opportunities new technology offers for mimicking human experience. In his installations, heads projected on different surfaces engage in dialogue with one another or themselves and gesturing faces peek from piles of clothing. Viewers find themselves in the middle of confusing events or being stared at. Who views and watches whom?
Tony Oursler upsets our accustomed ways of experiencing moving images. His surrealistic visions confuse the viewers and prod them into thinking about the power media and television have on our worldview and how they shape our personalities. His key themes are our alienation from our bodies and the fragmentation of society.
Oursler has also displayed his works outdoors in surprising locations. The exhibition includes scale models that demonstrate projects Oursler has designed in urban spaces in collaboration with architects.
Tony Oursler lives and works in his native New York City.
The exhibition was organised collaboratively by Jeu de Paume in Paris, DA2 in Salamanca and the Helsinki City Art Museum. The curator of the exhibition is Christine van Assche. The exhibition includes a 172-page English-language book with articles by Christine van Assche, Tony Oursler, Paul Ardanne and Raymond Bellord.
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