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Cristin Tierney Gallery opens exhibition of new video works by peter campus
Installation view of peter campus: pause, 2017. Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York. Photo by John Muggenborg.

NEW YORK, NY.- Cristin Tierney Gallery is presenting peter campus: pause. This exhibition of new video works is the next in the gallery's annual black box programming that highlights the moving image. pause opened on Thursday, January 11th and closes on Saturday, February 17th.

In pause, new video works present images of life in harbor and seaside areas around eastern Long Island, Massachusetts, and the Atlantic coast of France. A two-screen work, ebb and flow, was made in Montauk harbor, Shinnecock inlet, and the famous New Bedford harbor. The dual projections portray fishing boats moored to docks or churning through water, creating powerful juxtapositions of form, perspective, and color. At times the images seem nearly mirrored, but small differences reveal themselves upon close observation. A boat turning is seen simultaneously from the side and from behind; a bird faces one direction on one screen, the opposite direction on the other; the same boat is pictured at different stages of loading, unloading, and docking. Between each sequence, the screen cuts to a “pause”—imageless blackness.

The video at rest similarly presents a sequence of images interspersed with black; its source imagery, however, is the waterways of Pornic, France. In this single-channel work, campus captures the harbor through long, meditative views of boats anchored in the water as well as visitors walking around beachside paths, or crossing the boat-strewn seabed at low tide. Like ebb and flow, at rest approaches a form of realism. campus’ use of 4K technology gives the works hyperrealistic definition, but the overall effect is visually idiosyncratic. Actions are slowed, whether they are those of a boy climbing up a ladder or a trawler slicing across the harbor. Colors are heightened to an expressive degree. As a result, the viewer is reminded that video does not simply present a one-to-one picture of the world. Such works are the sum of choices made by the artist: what to reveal, how to frame an image, and how to portray a subject.

In pause, campus delivers a representation of the sublime as embodied by the sea. The works’ stillness invites us to slow down, while the darkened black box installation provides a space to contemplate our relationship to the natural environment. Like his videographs from the recent past, the works in the exhibition continue the artist’s decades-long exploration of the link between identity and the landscape, but they also introduce a new element: the presence of the individual. Small figures punctuate vast landscapes; workers and fisherman staff boats; and there is a pronounced attention given to the coastline and the communities that surround and survive off the sea. Even when boats are shown without figures, the human presence is implied; campus presents the vessels in close-up views so that the viewer feels like part of the composition. This shift represents a further development in the artist’s pursuit of harmony between man and nature—a congruence that he achieves through precise technical manipulation, underscoring his place at the vanguard of the video medium.

The footage recorded in Pornic for at rest was filmed while the artist was working on a commission for his survey exhibition that originated at the Jeu de Paume, video ergo sum. This exhibition, which presents campus’ work from 1971 to the present, is currently on view at the CAAC in Seville, Spain. In 2018, video ergo sum will travel to Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos – Culturgest in Lisbon, Portugal, before heading to the Bronx Museum in New York in the spring of 2019. The exhibition is curated by Anne-Marie Duguet.

peter campus (b. 1937, New York, NY) is a seminal artist in the canons of new media and video art. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Experimental Psychology from Ohio State University in 1960, he studied at The City College Film Institute and participated in the experimental workshops at Boston’s famous WGBH-TV. In 1975, campus received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1976, he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His work has been exhibited extensively with solo shows at the Jeu de Paume (Paris), University of Michigan Museum of Art (MI), The Power Plant (Toronto), Kunsthalle Bremen (Germany), Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso (Mexico City), Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), The High Museum (GA), and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris). campus is represented in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art (NY), Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart (Berlin), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Walker Art Center (MN), Weatherspoon Art Museum (NC), and Tate Modern (London). His pioneering career encompasses a wide range of media, including early video art, photography, and digital video.

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