Artiste-professeur invité


Gary Hill

Born in 1951 in Seattle (United States)

"Talking about the image in Gary Hill's work is not a simple matter of playing on words, rather that term here refers to a fundamental character in human beings: their capacity to construct the world of objects through language. In this second path followed by the artist, one must thus mark the distinction between the video image and the symbolic, signifying image (picture) which we create from the real and project mentally. The image is not simply that of film developing its own language, it is also a perception of the world processed by linguistic forms. (...)

Indeed, the objects and tools build by Gary Hill have an esthetic function and serve to integrate the world and the language of art, but they do so by referring back to the outside world and to natural language. Beyond the individual quest, it is a primary and universal human condition that Gary Hill is exploring: the fact that we can neither leave from, nor live without, the world and language."

(Excerpts from Jacinto Lageira's text for the catalogue of the Gary Hill exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1992)

Gary Hill began his career as a sculptor in the 70's in Seattle. He is most famous as one of the first video-artists to be widely recognized in the contemporary art world. While his first works were based on a purely visual process, the works from the mid-70's begin to integrate sound components, the images of these videos being informed by elements of speech and text. Very influenced by European literature and philosophy, the artist went on exploring language and its structural modalities. "Language is an endless material. If you manage to strip it of history and get to its substantial core, it is capable of tearing something in our innermost. Images, on the contrary, often do no more than glide by the corner of our mind, like things seen out a car window." The great force of Gary Hill's work stems from his attempt at giving a physical dimension to the word.