Spectre | Collection Co–selection

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Tony Oursler


installation; video, 10'52" + table

The Spectre installation by Tony Oursler consists of a table, a doll-like object, and a small video projector. The doll, animated by a disturbing sound and projection of a colour video of a womans face, projected onto a head made of a white pillow. The work refers to states of illusion, phantasmagoria and in this context the history of television. An animated, distorted human figure with a huge head with a menacing, heavy wooden table suspended above toys with the viewers emotions, tapping into their experiences and subconscious.

The projection runs on a loop, a small video projector, transmitting the image, is placed on the floor a few dozen centimetres from the pillow so that both the projector and power cables are clearly visible. Apart from the projector and a small dim light illuminating the dolls face, there are no others light sources the space around the work remains dark.

Tony Oursler (b. 1957), an American artist working in a number of fields including video, sculpture, installation, performance, and painting. Above all, he is considered a pioneer of new media art and video sculpture. He is one of the artists who brought video art to life, freeing it from the constraints of using two-dimensional monitors. In his work, he broadened this field by projecting images onto three-dimensional forms everything from a shop window to cloud of smoke.

Oursler began to showcase his sculptures-projection screens in the 1990s. The artist then developed this series Talking Heads into the series entitled Eyes, in which he projected images of eyes within the gallery space. These eyes, in which one could see the dilating pupils or the reflections of the iris, sometimes stared into space and sometimes watched the visitors, leading to an exchange of disturbing glances between the work and the audience.