Tony Oursler, American pioneer of media art, is one of the most accomplished and well-known artists of his generation when it comes to questions of fiction and reality, collective search for meaning and individual confusion. With the works “Eclipse” and “Specular”, he presents two works that deal with the peculiarities of the media age.
“Eclipse” consists of individual video projections which, when projected oversized onto trees in the dark, become an impressive installation. The various characters in the films seem to be moved inside, frightened, overwhelmed, petrified, doubting society and themselves. Alone or in combination with others, they swing speeches, speak paranoidly in walkie talkies, are stroboscopically accelerated in their movements, lash out with an axe, fall into a singing unison – separated and united.
The tree not only serves as a “canvas”, but Oursler fundamentally incorporates it into the conception of the work. Mystical superpowers are given to the trees by the increasingly explored communicative ability of plants with their environment. The tree’s organism is habitat, cooling, carbon binder and air filter. At the same time, it is identification-forming for the history of mankind, a symbol of life with an annual cycle, a connection between earth and sky, something divinely exalted and deeply rooted. Through its foliage, the sun shines as a crescent on the ground during an eclipse: The sun projects itself innumerably in its total or partial obscuration through the filtering of the tree canopy. Something that cannot be seen with the naked eye is made visible by the tree.
Tony Oursler (b. 1957) is considered a pioneer of American media art and is internationally regarded as one of the most accomplished artists of his generation. His works deal with questions of fiction and reality, collective search for meaning and individual confusion in the context of society as a whole.