Who and what limits our freedom of expression? In what ways do cultural differences affect our understanding of art and other forms of communication? How do an artist’s process and choice of medium affect our perception of his or her work? In Boundaries artists who synthesize disparate aesthetic traditions, present taboo subject matter, discover innovative uses of media, and explore the shape-shifting potential of the human figure.
David Altmejd has an almost childlike fascination for objects that grow, transform, and reshape themselves. Meaning, for Altmejd, does not exist in advance of the work in process. His interest lies in the making – the building of an object that will generate meaning. Using armatures in the forms of giants and angels that convey both human and supernatural energies, he abandons standard narrative conventions in favor of an exploration of materials, processes, and structures.
The collective assume vivid astro focus (avaf) was formed in New York City in 2001. Its principal members are Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide-Pierson. Avaf fuses drawing, sculpture, video, and performance into carnavalesque installations in which gender, politics, and cultural codes float freely. Personal expression and a lust for life feature prominently in projects simultaneously rooted in the politics of free speech, civil rights, and the dissolution of rigid classifications of class, gender, and national identity.
Lynda Benglis a pioneer of a form of abstraction in which each work is the result of materials in action – poured latex and foam, cinched metal, dripped wax – Benglis has created sculptures that eschew minimalist reserve in favor of bold colors, sensual lines, and lyrical references to the human body. But her invention of new forms with unorthodox techniques also displays a reverence for cultural references that trace back to antiquity. Often working in series of knots, fans, lumps, and fountains, Benglis chooses unexpected materials, such as glitter, gold leaf, lead, and polyurethane.
Tabaimo’s drawings and video installations probe the unsettling themes of isolation, contagion, and instability that seem to lurk beneath daily existence in contemporary Japan. She draws aesthetic inspiration for her animated videos from a combination of Japanese art forms – ukiyoe woodcuts, manga, and anime – while she often sets her layered, surrealistic narratives in domestic interiors and communal spaces such as public restrooms, commuter trains, and bathhouses.
Art21: Art in the 21st Century is an award-winning series of 24 programmes in which 100 contemporary artists explain their creations, their creative processes, and their perceptions of art. Available for the first time on DVD in the UK, Art21 covers a wide range of artists and contemporary visual art.