Works of Art

Henry Collection

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Wall Piece 2000
Single-channel video installation with sound and strobe light; Length: 7:34 minutes
Copyright credit: Gary Hill (2000)
Henry Art Gallery, gift of William and Ruth True, 2007.67.1 A to 3C

In Wall Piece, a work that combines rigorous body-oriented performance art with aspects of conceptual art and minimalism, Gary Hill recorded himself repeatedly hurling his body against a wall.  With each impact an intensely brilliant light strobes, dramatically illuminating the artist’s body.  When installed, the video is projected on a wall and lit with another strobe that flashes approximately 60 times per minute, going in and out of sync with the recorded strobe. With each physical exertion the artist utters a single word. Word by painful word the utterances come together to comprise an unusual meditation on the persistence of doubt in human existence.

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Tall Ships 1992
Sixteen-channel video installation or Twelve-channel video installation (silent)
90 x 10 x 10 ft. overall or 60 x 10 x 10 ft. overall
Photo: Dirk Bleicker
Copyright credit: Gary Hill (1992)
Henry Art Gallery, gift of The Lannan Foundation, 96.115

Tall Ships consists of sixteen projections evenly spaced along an absolutely dark 90-foot-long corridor. The projections present ghostly images of people of varying personality, ethnic origin, maturity, and gender. As the viewer proceeds down the corridor, the figures — who initially appear to be standing or seated at a distance— grow larger and eventually become life-size. The installation functions as a tangible experience unfolding in real time and space, as figures seem to approach, greet, and withdraw in response to the viewer’s presence. This transformation from distant moving image to engaging Other is dramatically affective. The projected images bring us face to face with a range of the unconscious emotional responses that may be triggered by interactions with strangers.  Whether the viewer finds it dreamlike, playful, or frightening is a reflection of his or her state of mind and sense of ease or discomfort when encountering others. Notably, the figures In Tall Ships do not speak; silence heightens our awareness of body language and may evoke a deeper meaning beyond words.

Other

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Accordions 2001–02
Five-channel video/sound installation (color, mono sound)
Dimensions variable
Photo: Paul-Emmanuel Odin and Vincent Bonnet
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Crossbow 1999
Three-channel video/sound installation (color, mono sound)
72 x 54 in.
Photo: Lynn Thompson
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Dervish 1993–95
Mixed media installation (color, stereo sound)
Dimensions variable
Photo: Richard Stoner
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Disturbance (among the jars) 1988
Mixed media installation (color, stereo sound)
Dimensions variable
Photo: Philippe Migeat
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Disturbance (among the jars) 1988
Mixed media installation (color, stereo sound)
Dimensions variable
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Facing Faces 1996
Two-channel video installation (color, silent)
Dimensions variable
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Frustrum 2006
Mixed media installation (Quicktime, color, Seven-channel 5.1 surround sound with tone/control track)
Dimensions variable
Photo: Patrick Gries, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
HanD HearD 1995–96
Five-channel video installation (color, silent)
Dimensions variable
Photo: Miquel Bargalló
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
I Believe It Is an Image in Light of the Other 1991–92
Mixed media installation (black-and-white, mono sound)
15 x 20 ft.
Photo: Mark B. McLoughlin
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
I Believe It Is an Image in Light of the Other 1991–92
Mixed media installation (black-and-white, mono sound)
15 x 20 ft.
Photo: Mark B. McLoughlin
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Inasmuch As It Is Always Already Taking Place 1990
Sixteen-channel video/sound installation (black-and-white; stereo sound)
16 h. x 54 x 66 in.
Photo: Allison Rossiter
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Primarily Speaking 1981–83
8-channel video/sound installation (color, stereo sound)
Each of the two monitor cabinets: 84 h. x 24 w. x 144 l. in.; positioned approximately 6 ft. apart
Photo: Cary Markerink
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Remarks on Color 1994
Single-channel video/sound installation (color, stereo sound)
9 h. x 12 w. ft.
Photo credit: Gary Hill
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Resounding Arches / Archi Risonanti 2005
Unique site specific video/sound installation for the Coliseum and Temple of Venus and Rome, Rome, Italy
Photo: Claudio Abate
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Suspension of Disbelief (for Marine) 1991–92
Mixed media installation (black-and-white, silent)
12 h. x 330 x 9 in.
Photo: Jean-Paul Judon
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)
Reflex Chamber 1996
Mixed media installation (color, mono sound)
15 x 15 x 15 ft.; table: 34 h. x 60 x 60 in.
Photo: Steve White
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

The Artist

Informed by writers, philosophers, and literary theorists such as Maurice Blanchot, Martin Heidegger, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gary Hill’s influential work deeply investigates the complex relationship of visual art to language. His first works dealing with the intertextual nature of image, sound, speech, and language emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Language, when transmitted through writing, sculpting, and drawing, always emanates from the body through gestures and actions of the hand. Hill’s first experimentations with the medium of video explored the synergetic connection of eye and hand, and body and video, by attaching a camera to various parts of his own body. The resulting works expressed the difficulty of communicating a sense of the physical body in video, bringing to the fore a fundamental theme in Hill’s work: disembodiment.

Hill’s interactive installations alter the viewer’s experience of space and time by creating a powerful connection between the body - the nervous system, the brain, one’s sense of vision and capacity for speech - and electronic media: computer and video technologies. A bombardment of sensory information pushes the viewer towards the outer extremes of consciousness and perception. The artist considers video the most receptive, flexible, and deep-reaching mirror of consciousness. At the heart of Hill’s video works is a dual examination: an examination of the limits of cognition— what we know or think we know, what we say, and what we feel— and of the capacity and potential of his materials to induce profound inquiry.

Biography

Born in Santa Monica, CA, in 1951, Gary Hill lived and worked as a sculptor in New York’s Hudson Valley before moving to Seattle in 1985. Hill first borrowed a video camera from Woodstock Community Video in 1973, and this brief encounter with an electronic medium was pivotal. Since then Hill has produced a large body of single- and multi-channel video works and mixed-media installations that explore the connection of body and brain with computer and video. His work has been presented at important venues worldwide, including solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, and the Hamburger Bahnhof. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. Hill has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Leone d’Oro Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1995. Hill lives and works in Seattle.