David Claerbout - Early Works (1996 - 1999)
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
David Claerbout works in the space between film, photography and painting, with the aid of digital image manipulation, in order to examine notions of veracity, representational ‘objectivity’ and time. If the media systematically bombard us with loud, hectic and often garish images, the artist instead proposes the opposite: quiet, subtle, lingering, poetic images which resonate and remain imprinted in the mind. Much of his work is indeed about the deceleration of perception and about the necessity of close observation. Using images from his own memory and experiences, the artist re-sensitises the viewer to the significance of individual gestures and their intimate poetry. To counteract the speed with which we consume media images Claerbout proposes stillness, meditation and silence. His videos seem frozen, suspended in time and space. Cat and Bird in Peace, is a single monitor video with no sound. A cat and bird, traditional adversaries, sit aside each other. Though it is evident they are not the best of friends, they mind their own business and manage to co-exist coolly. The poignant simplicity of this work is what is striking; it is a potent metaphor for learning to live with the ‘other’, a humorous comment on ‘civilised’ behaviour, and on the importance of peaceful co-existence despite difference.
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