Curated by Lois Bianchi
Video has emerged as a significant contemporary art form in its own right and as an adjunct to the artistic techniques of other fields. Video Transformations presents current video works that reinterpret the performing and visual arts, showing how video artists have dealt with the limitations and challenges posed by the medium, and how they have transformed other arts to video. Many of the works are collaborative creations of the video maker and artists in other fields. In some instances, most particularly in the ultimately non-collaborative area of visual art, the video maker is the artist. The exhibition is divided into four programs, each about 90 minutes in length and each providing a sampling of art transformations. The video makers represented come from all parts of the United States, and include men and women of a variety of backgrounds and points of view.
The successful transformation of other art forms to video must take into account the specific properties of the medium. In the best works created today, video artists accept the limitations and exploit the advantages of video. Thus, while the reality of the small screen eliminates panoramic stage pictures and limits the amount of activity that can be portrayed at any single moment, it also offers an intimacy and immediacy far beyond what any live or filmed performance can provide. That same intimacy provides considerable opportunity to experiment with content: works that pose difficult questions or present mysterious happenings are often less daunting to an audience when seen on a small scale.
In Video Transformations, we see how technology is used by the artist to enhance the expression of traditional art forms. We also see that technology has encouraged the growth of video art as a separate form. But if this new art form is to fulfill its potential, the video artist must be more than technically proficient. He or she must posses a vision or idea which will expand the viewer’s perception of life, as have other artists’ visions for centuries. If video art is to be of lasting value, a video aesthetic must be cultivated.
—Excerpt from foreword to the exhibition catalogue by Lois Bianchi, 1986