Diana Thater: Oo Fifi, Five Days in Claude Monetʼs Garden, Part I and Part II, 1992

 

1301PE is pleased to present Diana Thaterʼs Oo Fifi, Five Days in Claude Monetʼs Garden, Part I and Part II on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. In 1992, Diana Thater premiered Oo Fifi Part I as part of the critically acclaimed exhibition Into the Lapse at 1301. This was Thaterʼs first exhibition since her return from France where she was a Lila Acheson-Wallace Readerʼs Digest Foundation artist-in-residence at the Claude Monet Foundation, Giverny, the home of Claude Monet.

The work was revolutionary; it broke with the traditions of the previous generations of video artists. Thaterʼs subject matter was simple and the use of structural methods helped to articulate the medium of video projection. Thater created a jewel box with footage of Monetʼs garden broken into the primary video colors. The image was not broken apart in post-production but inside the Barco projector. Also critical to the work was Thater addressing the existing architecture of the gallery. She allowed the outside to be present and turned the window into a front and rear screen. The viewer was present, often being projected upon.

A few weeks later, Oo Fifi Part II was premiered at Shoshana Wayne Gallery. Here, Thater took three projectors, each one projecting only one color (red, green or blue) and reconstructed the image. The footage was the same as Oo Fifi Part I, but the result was an installation that accomplished its inverse. Instead of separating the projection into three component parts, Thater used three projectors to create a single composite image, thereby forming an analog approximation of a digital projection.

In both works, the focus shifts between the pure visual delight of the phantasm, to the individual colors that make up the image, to the physical apparatus of the projector, to the architecture of the space. Engaged in the act of looking, the viewer is also made aware of their own presence and participation in the work, as their body interrupts the construction of the image. For Part II, Thater heightens this awareness by placing colored gels on the windows, expanding the work beyond the boundaries of the room, and enveloping the audience so that they may, in her words, "see the way projectors see." It is a testament to the power of these works that they have retained their ability to captivate twenty years after they were first exhibited.

Diana Thater works and lives in Los Angeles. Oo Fifi, Five Days in Claude Monetʼs Garden has been shown around the world in venues such as The Kwangju Biennale, MUKA, the Beyeler Foundation and MOCA, Los Angeles among many others. Her recent solo museum exhibitions include Chernobyl, IMA, Brisbane, Australia, and Peonies, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH. She has also had solo exhibitions at SMMA, Santa Monica, CA; Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany; Kunsthaus Graz, Austria; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria; MOMA, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. In 2012 her work was included in the inaugural exhibition of the newly re-opened Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Broken Circle, her contribution to the 1997 Münster Sculpture Project is permanently on view at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Siegen, Germany. In 2008, she installed a permanent public installation at the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
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