ON THE RECEPTION OF
POP ART IN BELGIUM
1-2 DECEMBER 2011
ROYAL MUSEUMS OF
FINE ARTS OF BELGIUM
Open cinema: Pop art and the moving image
- Stefanie Stallschus
Pop art was described as a permanent staging of the tension between mass culture and high art (Barthes 1997). In fact after pop art the boundaries between high and low can no longer be taken for granted and thus it played a leading role in what might be called the democratisation of art and culture in different national and international contexts (Mercer 2007). One of its particular features lies in the artistic approach of appropriation: not only contents and design elements of mass media products were adopted, but also techniques, methods, and dispositifs. It is only consistent that many artists get into experimenting with different technical equipment in the field of photography, film etc.
In particular the moving image practices were widespread in the art scenes in the USA as well as in Europe. The artists regarded it as a very contemporary medium without a tradition in art world. The film installation in the exhibition 12 environments in Bern (1968) has been announced as an "open cinema", which is a potent metaphor for the desires and longings associated to the medium. Moreover artist cinema functioned as an experimental platform, since it was closely related with a hybridzation of visual art, installation, performance, poetry, music, and everyday-day life - very typical for the sixties (Leighton 2008).
The moving image was not only all around in vogue but also enforced an exchange and international networking between the art scenes of different countries. Since the distribution of the artist films was seldom organised professionally, it depended on direct and individual contacts. Furthermore, the collaborative mode of film led to numerous artistic cooperations. For example, visiting artists got involved in film projects of the Andy Warhol factory just as well as some of the factory stars work together with artists in Europe on film projects.
Based on examples the presentation will give an introduction to the motives and methods of artists were using the moving image in the USA, France, Italy, and Germany. The focus lies on the international character of the moving image practices, the interventions in local contexts they made possible and the exchange between the different centres of Pop art in the sixties driven by artist cinema.
Barthes, Roland: That Old Thing , Art, in: Steven Henry Madoff (ed.): Pop Art. A critical History,Berkely/ London 1997, 370-374.
Leighton, Tanya (ed.): Art and the Moving Image. A Critical Reader, London 2008.
Mercer, Kobena (ed.): Pop Art and Vernacular Culture, Cambridge/ London 2007, (Annotating art's histories - cross-cultural perspectives in the visual arts 3).
Stefanie Stallschus, Dr. des. (Art History), works as a Lecturer and Research Associate at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany. In 2003 she wrote her master's thesis on the Canadian media artist Michael Snow and completed her dissertation on "Between the images: Cinema as experiment field for Pop Art" 2009 (publication forthcoming), both at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Supervisors were Prof. Dr. Gregor Stemmrich and Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Reck.