Video Art

09.12.12

Auto-Focus Actor

The Daily Pic: Gary Hill's portrait of Isabelle Huppert gets us looking at her looking.

For his two-screen piece called “Loop Through”, Gary Hill, the video-art pioneer, set Isabelle Huppert up in front of two cameras, then asked her to keep shifting her gaze between them. I recently saw the 2005 piece in the Hill survey at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, and its effect was powerful, and peculiar: You felt, somehow, as though Huppert had become those two cameras, and you were the one being recorded by her. Normally, a video just shows the thing being seen - you are barely aware of the lens and its act of taking things in. Hill’s piece refocuses us on the fact that his camera pays attention. It may help that that attention feels like it is being paid us by the charismatic French star. When Hill’s camera becomes Huppert, how can you ignore it?

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