December 7, 2009 - BFI Southbank - Peter Campus, Opticks
December 7, 2009

Peter Campus, Opticks

Peter Campus, Inflections: changes in light and colour around Ponquogue Bay, 2009.

Peter Campus
Opticks

11 Dec 2009–14 Feb 2010

BFI Southbank
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XT

In December and January BFI Southbank celebrates the work of ground breaking video artist Peter Campus. The exhibition in the Gallery and the accompanying retrospective in the cinemas offer a rare opportunity to appraise the work of an artist who has contributed greatly to the development of the creative use of video and whose work has influenced two generations of practitioners. Campus’ work is particularly relevant in the context of the Gallery at the BFI because he was crucial in developing the potential of video within a gallery space, placing the visitor in the leading position of ‘activator’ of the work, subverting the passive role that video (through television) had given to the viewers up to that point.

Born in 1937, in New York, Campus first came to prominence as an artist in the early ’70s with his close-circuit works, three of which – Kiva (1971), Stasis (1973) and mem (1975) – are included in the exhibition alongside a new six-screen work commissioned by the BFI, Inflections: changes in light and colour around Ponquogue Bay (2009).

Campus’ close-circuit works subvert the viewer/work relationship; it is only when the visitor enters the field of the work’s apparatus that the piece is actually activated. Far from being interactive in the better known sense of the term, Kiva, Stasis and mem are fully realised only through the visitor’s movements within the space; but while we observe and explore a different, yet live and highly recognisable portrait of ourselves, such physical engagement soon becomes mental and emotional. In mem for example – showing in London for the first time – as one approaches the projection surface, the image becomes smaller to the point of receding and disappearing. This work, like all of Campus’, ask the existential question of what is a true image and it is this concern that places campus’ work within the history of the visual arts as much as within that of the moving image.

Such engagement with a broader history of the arts and in particular painting is what’s particularly striking about the artist’s new series of works. In Inflections: changes in light and colour around Ponquogue Bay (2009), static, slowed down videos shot on the Ponquogue Bay – on the south shore of Long Island, New York, where Campus lives – are digitally altered to create abstract landscapes. In the work we find Campus’ distinctive interest in technological experimentation coupled with a strong concern for formal composition, the result being hypnotic images, suspended between painting and video, stillness and movement. The work not only confirm Campus’ ongoing preoccupation with new technologies but most importantly it creates new, unexpected possibilities of painterly abstraction for video.

Supported by Arts Council England.

Inflections: changes in light and colour around Ponquogue Bay (2009) is commissioned by the BFI. With thanks to Albion, London.

The exhibition version of mem is courtesy of Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen.

Kiva and Stasis are courtesy of Albion, London.

Screenings and Events

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive retrospective of Campus’ video work showing in our cinemas and by a rare opportunity to welcome the artist in person.

Peter Campus in Conversation
with Elisabetta Fabrizi, BFI Head of Exhibitions to explore the artist’s oeuvre and the ideas behind his BFI show.
Fri 11 Dec 18:10 NFT3

Peter Campus Screenings (Part 1)
These two programmes provide a unique opportunity to see a retrospective of Campus’ video work.

Programme 1
Traveling Home [from Time's Friction], 2005
Kathleen in Grey [from Time's Friction], 2004
Time’s Friction [from Time's Friction], 2004
Three Transitions, 1973
East Ended Tape, 1976
Winter’s Journal, 1997
I, We [from By Degrees], 1998
Road Stick [from By Degrees], 1998
Traveling [from By Degrees], 1998
Forgetful Snow, 2006
Lost Days, 2006
Still Wind, 2006
Seines, 2007
The Blinds, 2007
Death Threat, 2000
Red Tag, 2004
Rolling Drum [from Six Movies], 2001
Temple deep [from Six Movies], 2001
Greenhouse Door [from Six Movies], 2001
Divide, 2001
Dynamic Field Series, 1971

Fri 11 Dec 20:30 NFT3, 114 min
Sun 13 Dec 15:00 Studio, 114 min
Sat 16 Jan 15:30 Studio, 114 min

Programme 2
Edge of the Ocean, 2003
Baruch the Blessed [from Time's Friction], 2004
Sophia [from Time's Friction], 2004
Four Sided Tape, 1976
Third Tape, 1976
Video Ergo Sum [Part One], 1999
Set of Coincidence, 1973
Karneval und Jude, 2003
Mont Désert, 1996
As Yet [from By Degrees], 1998
Myself Unknowing [from By Degrees], 1998
By Degrees [from By Degrees], 1998
Hammer, 2004
Water’s Wake [from Six Movies], 2001
Delay in Glass [from Six Movies], 2001
Searching Deserted Places, 2005
Ponquogue Bay, 2006
In Water, 2007
The Future of Oil, 2007
The Reluctance of Trees, 2007
Double Vision, 1971

Sat 12 Dec 15:00 Studio, 115 min
Sun 17 Jan 15:30 Studio, 115 min

Peter Campus Screenings (Part 2)
For the BFI, Campus has curated two programmes of his former students’ videos, providing an outlook into how teaching is an integral part of his influential legacy.

Programme 3
Seoungho Cho, Buoy, 2008
Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Roaming, 2005
Jason Varone, Traveling by Television, 2002
Jason Varone, A Videodrawing in Brooklyn, 2002
Jason Varone, Logic Bomb, 2005
Jason Varone, Diagram Abstraction, 2005
Kathleen Graves, Capella Rosa, The Spider, 1997
Priyanka Dasgupta, an abbreviated account of desire and death
Claudia Joskowicz, Round and Round and Consumed by Fire, 2009
David Matorin, The Power of the Immovable Object (theater)
Alejandro Cesarco, Zeide Isaac, 2009
Gautam Kansara, Health, Wealth and Fame (Rangpar)

Sat 23 Jan 15:30 Studio, 66min

Programme 4
Seuongho Cho, I Left My Silent House, 2007
Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Jump, 2007
Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Circa 1978, 2001
Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Untitled – Dog, 2001
Kathleen Graves, Trace, 1998
Claudia Joskowicz, Vallegrande 1867, 2008
Priyanka Dasgupta, we all fall down
David Matorin, Always-Forever-Girl, 2006
David Matorin, Transmission Problem, 2003
Sonja Engelhardt, Untitled loop, 2009
Sonja Engelhardt, Untitled loop, 2009
Alejandro Cesarco, Everness, 2008

Sun 24 Jan 15:30 Studio, 61min

For further information please visit www.bfi.org/gallery
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT
Box office: 020 7928 3232 (11:30 – 20:30 daily)

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT

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