HD video, 2:13, on infinite loop
Courtesy Petzel Gallery, New York
The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati
Oct 6 – 9, 2016
William E. Jones
(sequence of digital files, black and white, silent, 4 min., 56 sec., loop)
Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.
Film and video are mediums made from still photographs that are set into motion for naturalistic effect. Breaking or disrupting film’s naturalistic illusion is one strategy artists have engaged in order to insert a critical position within a medium that is most often used for straightforward storytelling or documentary purposes. By exposing the gaps between individual frames, or putting together rapid-fire images that don’t quite blend together, artists are able to create other forms of narrative.
Slideshows have been part of the photography landscape since lantern slide projections of the 19th-century and domestic evenings spent with families revisiting family vacations. Artists began using the slideshow format during the 1960s: Chris Marker’s film La Jetée (1962), a sci-fi psychological thriller, was composed almost entirely of still images, imbuing the film with an uncanny and otherworldly mood. Projected slideshows became a common way to exhibit photography in museums as well; photographers such as Garry Winogrand and Helen Levitt exhibited their color work at MoMA in slide format during the 1960s and 1970s, respectively, in part because color photographs were at that time unstable and expensive to print. Nan Goldin’s landmark work Ballad of Sexual Dependency, of 1985, was conceived and shown as a slideshow.
Since the 1980s, artists have continued to explore the slideshow as a medium somewhere between still photography and film. New Slideshow features works by various contemporary artists exploiting the potential of the slideshow. Featured artists include Nan Goldin, Patricia Esquivias, Mishka Henner, William E. Jones, Sophia Peer, Seth Price, Robin Rhode, and John Stezaker.