This exhibition consists of two works: this one, which I produced in 1958, and that one over there, which I created this year. They’re presented in contrast, as if in a mirror. Visitors will see these works at the same time, and they will see both – even this one, produced 36 years ago – as new and current. Visitors can stand in the middle here and regard both of works as products of the same age. As you can see, the 36-year-old work is a picture painted in translucent colors, covered with glass and illuminated from behind. The picture is thus permeated with light. The glass surface is like a mosaic of lenses, giving it an irregular quality. If you look closely, you see that the lenses produce an optical effect. This little ball serves as a kind of “media eye” to supplement your physical eye. Let’s see what happens when we view this work through the eye of the media. As I scan the surface of the glass with this device, bits and pieces of this 36-year-old picture appear over there, on the TV monitors. Color television and the CCD camera did not yet exist when I created this picture; their invention has truly transformed our visual world. I call this work LANDSCAPE. It was made before the invention of color television and CCD camera technology, but if you look at it through this “third media,” you can see how this “landscape” appears through modern media. Pressing this button changes the display to a pre-recorded video tape of images from natural history and the history of machinery as well as “softer” images of things like the human body and jellyfish. They move back and forth, from left to right, across the display.
In front of the TV monitors are five pairs of transparent columns – ten columns in all. They’re just like the pillars found in ancient Greek and Roman temples. The video images appear inside them and revolve, slowly. Just as the lens-like surface of LANDSCAPE lends it a sense of movement, so the acrylic columns on this work exert a lens-like effect on the video images that pass through them. I call this work VIDEO PASSAGE because it is a video path that you can follow with your eyes.
“Passage” – the lining up of merchandise for people to enjoy and purchase – was a very popular practice in late 18th – early 19th century Paris, at the beginning of the Age of Consumption. I have created a similar “Passage” here, using video.
Next to VIDEO PASSAGE is a MAC database that contains reproductions of other works I created· at around the same time as LANDSCAPE as well as photographs of me and articles about me.
Exhibitions and art shows usually offer nothing more than a catalog to supplement the works on display. Having a database like this, however, enables interested visitors to look at, study and think about the artist and the period in which he lived. They can also, if they wish, find out more about specific works. This exhibition offers a complete multimedia experience as a model of the kind of work that artists should undertake now that it is possible to access and create information on people as well as things. This exhibition not only displays two completed works – it bridges the gap between two times. The database is here to present background information on these works and to serve as a venue for further research.