From Hollywood, with Art
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What started with random, irregular paper cuttings, the act of collage art has gradually made its transition to the digital era. Two of its most seminal creations — the celebrated Swiss-American visual artist Christian Marclay's Telephones and the Australian visual artist Tracey Moffatt's Doomed — are currently on view at the Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai. As much as it is rare and unfamiliar to the Indian digital art scene, it perfectly fits the ambitions of the gallery, says Susan Hapgood, founder-director of Mumbai Art Room, a non-commercial art organisation that serves as an alternative platform for foreign art forms in India. "Video art is certainly familiar in the inner art circles in India, but perhaps not among the broader audience," she says.
The two artists are considered among the most significant contemporary visual artists, especially Marclay, an avant-garde DJ-turned-visual artist who's recent work, The Clock, has been hailed as a modern masterpiece.
Moffatt, on the other hand, is an experimental filmmaker, photographer and video artist, all rolled into one, whose early films Night Cries (1990) and Bedevil (1993) were featured at the Cannes Film Festival.
Marclay's Telephones, considered one of the first video-mashups in the history of digital art, is a meta-narrative that strings wee bits of various telephonic scenes of Hollywood films across decades. In the 7-minutes 30-seconds video that plays on a loop on a television monitor at the gallery, one telephonic scene leads to the other and the seemingly mundane process of a phone call is given the space and time to revel in its own artistic glory.
"When Marclay made Telephones (1995), he was crafting something entirely new," says Hapgood, who is also a senior adviser in the Independent Curators International, New York, and divides her time between the US and India.
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