Retrospective: the dark matter of media light

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Dara Birnbaum (°1946 New York, USA) presents an emotionally loaded and highly critical insight into (American) society and more particularly into the way it is being portrayed by television.

The prominent presence of ‘the woman’ as emotional being allows for a feminist interpretation of her work. Yet, unlike other contemporaries Birnbaum does not run diametrically counter to a male society affected by testosterone. Her work is a sustained search for a redefinition of what it can mean to be ‘a woman’ in a world evolving ever faster and overloaded with images. Dara Birnbaum considers it a challenge to formulate a strong and well-founded commentary on a political as well as a social level, by means of new audiovisual techniques. Although she grew up in a climate of political crisis, she has still maintained her unfathomable sense for romanticism. Parts of her personal archive will be opened up and films which were never shown before will be presented. At the same time a retrospective monograph will be compiled in which a choice selection of national and international authors will throw light on their view on Birnbaum’s oeuvre from various perspectives. The exhibition begins in the S.M.A.K. and will afterwards travel to Fundaçao Serralves (Porto, Portugal) amongst others.

EXTRA: Exhibition DARA BIRNBAUM: THE DARK MATTER OF MEDIA LIGHT in Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art 26th March – 4th July 2010 Curators: Philippe Van Cauteren and Giel Vandecaveye of S.M.A.K.. João Fernandes and Paula Fernandes of Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art presents, in co-production with S.M.A.K. – Gent, the exhibition The Dark Matter of Media Light, by the American artist Dara Birnbaum (New York, 1946). Birnbaum’s provocative video works are among the most influential and innovative contributions to the construction of a relationship between art and television. Birnbaum started making art that was politically and critically relevant in the mid-1970s. Since then she has been provoking a strong inquiry as to the way we look at political events and how we are influenced and manipulated by images, television and the media in general. Surveying a course of more than 30 years and bringing together early and recent works, this retrospective is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with one of the most important bodies of work of our time. Co-production: S.M.A.K., Gent and Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art Serralves Museum Dara Birnbaum exhibition

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