peter campus, Head of a Sad Young Woman, 1976–1977
One of the most influential pioneers of video art, peter campus began making single-channel videos and interactive installations in the early 1970s. He is widely acclaimed for his videos, installations, and large body of photographic work, which focuses on psychological and physiological states and explores the relationship between the subject, viewer, and artist.
Head of a Sad Young Woman, 1976–1977 is a tightly cropped portrait of a woman positioned close to the camera. She is still and stares into the lens for the entire length of the videotape. Intensified by campus’ use of high-contrast black-and-white video, the woman conveys intense sadness as she seems to glower at the viewer. In this Midnight Moment iteration of Head of a Sad Young Woman, campus suggests a quiet power the woman has over viewers as her gaze towers over Times Square.
“i asked the person participating to sit in front of the camera not as an object, but as someone projecting to the camera some feeling, some thought, non-verbally; i asked them to look at the lens as steadily as they could for the entire length of the video cassette, twelve minutes. at the end of the recording we looked together at the video, and made adjustments separately, she in her performance, i to the visual components. then recorded again, and again until we were satisfied.” — peter campus
“Faced with her melancholy, it is hard not to reflect on recent discussions about sexual misconduct, reproductive rights, and inequality. The work’s monumental size and emphasis on looking also creates the sensation that one is being observed. In a world dominated by smart devices, drones, and companies selling customer data, the questions of surveillance and who controls our image are especially relevant. The introspection invited by this work is displayed to its full advantage in the context of Times Square — a location that embodies the breadth of human experience.” — Cristin Tierney, Cristin Tierney Gallery
Head of a Sad Young Woman is presented in partnership with The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ survey exhibition peter campus: video ergo sum, on view March 6–July 22, 2019, and on the occasion of the artist’s public discussion at The Armory Show with Tina Rivers Ryan, Assistant Curator at the Albright-Knox Gallery, on March 10th at 3:00pm. Cristin Tierney Gallery will also have a booth of campus’ single-channel videos on display at the fair from March 6-10, 2019 in the Galleries section in booth #827, and the gallery will open at its new location — 219 Bowery, Floor 2 — with work by campus on view.
Find out more here.