Text: Derya Ocean, art critic

The latest trends in the development of video art as a liberating genre aligning itself with modernity involve telling personal stories without specifying the addressee, author, attributes of time, and space; it’s a delicate balance between the hermeticism of expression and the visibility of an easily perceivable form; it’s a shift from super-small narratives to super-super-small narratives. Contemporary video art seems to compensate for all the sorrows of surrounding reality with its fragility, subtlety, and worldliness: wars, crises, epidemics, and genocides. The most interesting video art artists seem to be fascinated by the search for harmony between the viewer’s gaze and the gaze from the screen, they operate not with visual images but with ways of viewing the world, strategies of contemplation, and tactics of voyeurism. Here, video art takes on psychotherapeutic and spiritual functions, and the figure of the artist is enriched with traces of attempts to be necessary, useful, and caring for society. Today I want to tell you about three outstanding video art pieces that, in my opinion, are at the forefront of artistic expressiveness, honesty, and impartiality in contemporary video art.

“INFINITUM” by Vladislav Motorichev

https://vimeo.com/933635625/14852ada92

“INFINITUM” is a seductive whisper, a summer languor, an absent gaze. This work of extremely impressionistic nature plays with our perception like a kitten plays with a ball of yarn. Despite its elaborate pastoralism, from second to second, dramatic tension grows, which is rather due to the viewer’s attention being distracted from the thickness of the montage rather than from the narrative component. The plot is present here, but it is literally elusive. Can there be a plot in the rustle of the wind or the first kiss? If you answered yes, then you will enjoy this captivatingly languid video art.


“Television Dream” by Burhan Tekçe

 

“Television Dream,” on the contrary, is occupied with structuring reality: rhythmically, compositionally, and geometrically. This not very lengthy video art constantly refers us to two phenomena: blinking and archaic television. The video art artist seems to be laughing at us and inclining us to the obvious but forgotten vision that during blinking (or dreaming?) we miss a large part of reality. The lively sound accompaniment rather focuses our attention, and the gaze from the screen disappears at the last moment, as if it has achieved its goal. This virtuosic work is a hymn to processuality and a subtle irony over aggressive forms of intimacy.


“Restrictions” by Maksim Ilyasov

https://vimeo.com/934171640

“Restrictions” is a very clear and beautifully assembled construction, extremely concentrated around a single eye. The eye here acts as a black hole that makes us peer into it while simultaneously monitoring what is happening on its borders. It’s as if we are exploring the boundaries of our gaze, closely observing the eye of another person, which is enveloped in shadows, geometric figures, chains, traffic lights, and so on. Remarkably, such a culturally established symbol as the eye astounds in this work with its semantic purity combined with playful ambiguity. “Restrictions” is a unique quasi-journey intentionally arranged simpler than it is conceived at the level of intention.

The works described above excellently illustrate the multiplicity of approaches to constructing a unique opposition of views (the gaze from the screen and the viewer’s gaze); these are very precise, I would even say meticulous attempts to bring together streams of sensations, memories, and soothing self-exaltations. These video art pieces are excellent documentation of our complex and incomprehensible time when every sane person can confidently be called a hero.

Redaxion: Serkan Incu