David Hall: Situations Envisaged

17 Jul 2015 – 14 Aug 2015

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Hall, known as the “Godfather of British video art”, was an innovative artist and filmmaker renowned for revolutionising the promotion and reception of video art.


He famously made the first ever artistic intervention on British television with his ten ‘Interruptions’ of 1971: broadcast on Scottish television, the interruptions were both unannounced and uncredited. Now known as “7 TV Pieces” (Collection Tate, UK and Reina Sofia, Spain) the ‘Interruptions’ opened the gateway for further technical and artistic experiments within the medium of television, video and film including 60 TV Sets: the first ever multi-channel video installation, shown in 1972 at the Goethe Institute, London.

This exhibition takes as its nexus the ground-breaking installation, A Situation Envisaged: The Rite II (Cultural Eclipse) (1989-1990) – a fifteen monitor video installation, first commissioned and exhibited for Video Positive ’89 at Tate Liverpool.

Renowned curator Chrissie Isles described A Situation Envisaged as: "striking in its prescient re-interpretation of both the Minimalist sculpture of the 1960s, of which Hall was a part, and the post-Minimalist artistic hybridity of the 1970s, which he helped to create".

Hall’s early career and practice was founded in minimalism; his sculptures were included in the seminal 1966 exhibition Primary Structures, curated by Kynaston McShine at the Jewish Museum, New York. The geometric structure of A Situation Envisaged asserts these minimal beginnings, whilst the centre monitor, with its image of the moon, recalls Nam June Paik's assertion that the moon was 'the oldest TV" - a nod to the “father of video art” and his enduring influence on Hall.

Screened alongside this important installation is Cinema (1972-3), a series of five films made with Tony Sinden: ActorBetween, EdgeThis Surface and View, which were first exhibited at Tate in 1974. The five films explore the very materiality of the screen against the projected image through a manipulation of classic tropes and techniques of film.

Hall’s interest in the intrinsic properties of film as a medium is further explored with two single-channel video works: TV Fighter (Cam Era Plane) (1977) – described by Michael O’Pray of the BFI as “an astonishing tour de force” - and Vidicon Inscriptions: The Tape (1973) – first exhibited at Dokumenta 6, 1977. TV Fighter explores the concept of time, juxtaposing historical footage against his own. Vidicon Inscriptions literally registers the passage of time through the periodic release of a polaroid shutter, each fixed image then burnt into the “vidicon” tube. These films are unparalleled in their unique and experimental approach to the medium of video.

The exhibition will include archival documentation, drawings, and vintage photographs from the estate of David Hall.

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David Hall


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