Gary Hill, “Is A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky”

Gary Hill: Is A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky
July 6 – August 18, 2016
Opening Reception:
Thursday, July 6th, 6-8pm

James Harris Gallery is pleased to exhibit “Is A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky” (2005) by Gary Hill. This piece has previously been exhibited at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, NY, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and most recently at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle.

Since the 1970’s, Gary Hill has been a foundational figure for new media, innovatively employing new technology with his performance and installation based practice to explore the psychology of the moving image and themes around language and consciousness. His experimental approach offers a self-reflexive perspective that is both poetic and socio-culturally aware.

“Is A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky” (2005) was made as a tribute to the legendary Isabelle Huppert, displaying a moving portrait of the film actress. Projected on to two screens side by side, Huppert is portrayed from two perspectives simultaneously. The two full bodied shots were recorded at the same time but the cameras were shot from different vantage points so that the resulting images are eerie simulacra of each other. The video shows Huppert shift through a series of expressions, fluctuating between “herself” and “acting.” These subtle changes of behavior and emotions are revealed as discomfort, intensity, boredom, playfulness, annoyance, agitation, coyness, etc.

This work speaks to Hill’s concerns regarding the physicality of language, perceptual conundrums, ontological space and viewer interactivity. By creating a triad relationship between the viewer and these two perspectives of Huppert, Hill creates psychological space that challenges perceptual faculties and disorients. Highlighting the limits and gaps inherent in subjectivity, the viewer is made aware of both their own body and their relationship to this life size work, pushing the boundaries of consciousness and calling for a deeper inquiry. The artist considers video as a medium to be the most receptive, flexible, and deep-reaching mirror of consciousness.

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