Saturday, February 24
DOCUMENT is pleased to present Video Drawings, Howardena Pindell’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will present a selection of photographic works realized between 1975 and 2007.
Pindell’s Video Drawings series is a meditation on the hegemony of the (tele)visual, one that forms a critique by way of the blur. In Pindell’s hands, blurring the image becomes a way to slow down the pace of image consumption in order to consider the multi-layered impacts of televisual images in everyday life. For these works, first Pindell drew an intuitive composition of lines and arrows onto sheets of acetate. These transparencies were then placed in front of a television screen, where the sheet would stick due to the static electricity that emitted from the screen. Sitting away from both the television and the camera propped in front of it, she would “watch” TV through the acetate, and decidedly take photographs with a cable release when she felt the image on TV compelled an interesting relationship with the drawn acetate composition.
This final image yields a “drawn” composition of a material meditation on the formal processes of image transmission and translation across media, coupled with then-current events, which also hauntingly remain relevant to the contemporary viewer. These works focused on sporting events in the mid-1970s and Pindell turned to images from war-torn countries throughout the 1980s.
Video Drawings move away from the clarity presupposed by the photographic, and instead make room for the generative processes of televisual translation as a signpost of contemporary life. If, as Guy Debord would have it, the “society of the spectacle”— an endless loop of mediation and image-consumption where our leisure time is merely another form of work— best characterizes post-WWII life, then Pindell’s particular mode of photographic capture asks us to rethink the influence of televisual in our everyday lives. We can situate Pindell’s series, which began in the mid-1970s, within a history of video art, which emerges earlier in that decade. Many early video artists were particularly interested in how television reshaped what could be considered “art,” in many of the same ways that photography had done in the 19th century.
— Sampada Aranke