Gary Hill

(Gary Hill: Tall Ships)


Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)

Tall Ships [film still]. 1992

Sixteen channel video installation (silent) or Twelve channel video installation (silent)

Dimensions variable: 90 x 10 x 10 ft. overall or 60 x 10 x 10 ft. overall

Henry Art Gallery, gift of The Lannan Foundation, 96.115

Gary Hill’s Tall Ships consists of eighteen projections evenly spaced along an absolutely dark, 90-foot-long corridor. The installation is an immersive experience that unfolds in real time and space. As the viewer negotiates the corridor, distant, motionless figures of varied personality, ethnicity, age, and gender begin to stir in response to the viewer’s presence.  Each approaches and silently acknowledges the viewer, and then withdraws. These interactions evoke the wide range of emotional responses that accompany our encounters with strangers. As the artist states, “I just went for the simplest of activity I possibly could because it was really about this idiomatic meeting… Meeting a stranger that is you.”

(Gary Hill: Wall Piece)


Gary Hill (U.S., b. 1951)

Wall Piece [film still]. 2000

Single‑channel video installation with sound and strobe light; Length: 7:34 minutes

Copyright Gary Hill (2000)

Henry Art Gallery, gift of William and Ruth True, 2007.67.1 A–3C

In Wall Piece, Gary Hill, Illuminated by a brilliant strobe light, hurls himself repeatedly against a wall. With each collision he utters a single word from a written text. Hill’s words gradually form coherent sentences and become a meditation on the persistence of doubt in human existence. Words and actions - language and body -violently unite in a flash of light, emphasizing their intrinsic connectedness and the inseparability of mind and body.