still from Pull 1971
National Gallery of Victoria
Image courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York
This exhibition features work from the 1970s by pioneer video artists Vito Acconci, Peter Campus and Joan Jonas. The seven works on display were acquired by the NGV during the 1970s but have been unable to be viewed in recent years due to the instability of the early video formats on which they were originally recorded. This selection is the first group of videos from the NGV’s collection to be re-purposed and archived, thus ensuring their long-term viability and making them available to contemporary audiences for the first time in decades.
The individual working styles and concerns of Acconci, Campus and Jonas are indicative of the varied uses to which video was put by artists in the early part of the decade. Employed as both medium and tool, the use of this relatively new and inexpensive technology was closely linked to developments in conceptual, performance and body art. However, both the positioning and understanding of video as an art form in its own right at this time is similarly evident in each artists’ exploration of the inherent formal and technical properties of the medium.