Artiste-professeur invité


Michael Snow

Born in 1928 in Toronto (Canada)

Multidisciplinary artist Michael Snow is one of most inspirational figures on the art scene in the last few decades. The thirty or so photographs, screenings, video installations and sound pieces selected for this exhibit presents an overview of the polyvalent, experimental character of this pioneer in media art.

His artistic practice, prolific and protean, reinvents itself through the ceaseless reconfiguration of a broad range of visual and acoustic phenomena, enriched by the ongoing changes afforded by technological progress.

His output resonates perfectly with the most cutting-edge research in media art and its distribution networks, though he has also been active in its genesis and development, as revealed by the surprisingly prescient character of several of the works exhibited here.

A sizable corpus produced from the 1960s to very recent time casts light on the work of Michael Snow and brings out certain recurrent aspects of his approach, such as the motif of the window as frame, the relationship between interior/exterior and recto/verso, the metamorphosis or condensation of image and sound, the representation of the technical referent (photography, film, audio), the connection between object and image, and an analysis of space and time.

Several cult works are presented: Wavelength (1966-67), La région centrale (1970-71), Sink (1970), The Last LP (1987), That/Cela/Dat (2000), Solar Breath (Northern Caryatids) (2002), Powers of Two (2003). They illustrate the variety of media employed by the artist in his creations -- printed, screened, animated, and planned as acoustic environments, interactive, even.

If several works bear a noticeable conceptual, contemplative, narrative or processual stamp, the playful character of other pieces manifests and reveals Michael Snow's amused insight into the world. Indeed, one of the artist's favorite mechanisms for structuring relationships in his artwork -- its "hanging," as it were -- is to engineer collisions between its component words, images, and sounds.

Any exhibition of Snow's can only hope to provide a snapshot of his oeuvre. In this attempt to close the loop, to complete the edit, or, still more challengingly, to complete what is an unfinished image, a vast territory is opened up, one where a wide range of genres, processes, and devices, where a panoply of diverse media sensitize us to and confront us with sensations and meanings that target and affect an inevitably fleeting portion of an imaginary and symbolic world relayed solely by the experience of the image.

Such contact with the work provides a rare opportunity to take a closer look at the nature of the image, to follow Snow's example, and to try in our turn to enfold and/or unfold its motifs, to open or compress its space, to accelerate it or slow it down.

Michael Snow was born in Toronto where he still lives and works. Prolific and multidisciplinary, he is a major figure in the fields of painting, sculpture, cinema, and video, as well as in music. He made his first film in 1956, while his status as an international avant-garde filmmaker was consecrated in 1967 by Wavelength. His work features at most major international art events.