A note on Multimedia Art Installation

I’ve just seen Bas Jan Ader’s I’m Too Sad To Tell You (1971), and, along with a handful of other similarly-communicated pieces, it’s led me to question the aim of that medium in the context of the art gallery. Specifically when portraying the human face in close-up.

At first, there’s an expectation that what we’re about to see is an intended portrayal of the fragility of emotion, or some sort of insight into our sensitivities. But these films seem over acted, and quite often the person in question is the artist themself, as opposed to an actor adept to translating these complex emotions. Not that there’s much wrong with that – if the artist delivers the art directly, it arguably remains purer. Also, perhaps the emotion is supposed to appear fake and over-acted, perhaps this is meant to highlight some sort of illusion. Nonetheless, the uniform nature of the vast majority of these pieces inclines me to render them redundant.

Of course, maybe the fact that I am prompted to question these works is an achievement in itself, but it would be an indirect one.

I don’t have time for a theoretical exploration here, but I am deciding.

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