With the world dominated in full force by technology, it is to no lesser extent with the happenings in contemporary art. Video art has played a tremendous role in the language of perception. The ‘Meta-Landscapes’ exhibit currently running at Valletta Contemporary, suggests this psychological phenomenon with works at the gallery progressing to juxtapose both the natural world and the moving image. Participating are twelve pioneering, international artists with an accomplished curatorial framework by Chris Meigh-Andrews. The exhibit touches on the experience of multi-space, those subjective, emotional, or imagined. Below, in a conversation with Meigh-Andrews, we get to know more about the central theme.
Outland (2019), Vince Briffa
The 'Meta-Landscapes: Representations and Perceptions' exhibition is a collection of works by 12 international artists. What inspired the selection of these works?
The inspiration for the selection of works in this exhibition is very direct – I have chosen representative works by artists I admire and respect!
Many of the artists included are pioneers in the field of video and all have sought to explore notions of the landscape, but from many different perspectives . When the gallery director Norbert Attard invited me to curate a moving image exhibition at Valletta Contemporary, I felt that landscape could serve as a unifying theme.
Electronic moving images represent the landscapes. Why was this medium chosen?
I began working with video as an art medium in the mid 1970’s and have continued to do so as it has evolved and developed from an obscure and somewhat “poor relation” to film, to become one of the most significant, if not the most important medium in contemporary art.
Sine Wave (The Curve of Life) (2011), Gary Hill
Why did you include the term 'Meta' to describe the landscapes?
The term “meta” is derived from the Greek for “beyond”. The works in the exhibition all seek in one way or another to explore ideas and experiences which go beyond a simple representation of the landscape to express or depict a relationship to the environment which we are all part of.
An aspect of the theme is the merging of the natural world with man-made artefacts. What is the takeaway of this facet?
We live in a world which is in a dynamic interplay between the “made” and the “born”, to use Stuart Brand’s terminology. Although our culture is constructed, we necessarily view everything through our senses- through our physical bodies. As the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty has said: “The artist takes his body with him.” (sic). Technology is of course a way of extending our senses, but it does not replace them
What's next in plan for Chris Meigh-Andrews?
I have some writing projects to finish- a book chapter about the relationship between video art and music and I am also involved with a historical survey project chronicling the development of artists’ video in Europe, but I will of course continue making new moving image work myself, as well as writing about the work of others.