The SCHIRN is presenting a major exhibition of video art by Turner Prize Winner Elizabeth Price. We name 5 good reasons why the exhibition visit is worthwhile.
1. A look at "the fine print of the information age"
Elizabeth Price (*1966) makes transformations of the digital visible. The artist creates moving-image works, composing visuals, text, and sound to form spatial installations that restage cultural and sociopolitical events and focus attention on largely unnoticed stories. The hierarchical world of work’s transformation through digitization is a recurring theme, in particular the rise of information work, office activities, and administration. Price’s videos raise questions about power, gender, value, and language, situating them in the shared space of technology and culture.
Dr. Sebastian Baden, director of the SCHIRN, emphasizes:
Elizabeth Price’s artistic work focuses on the fine print of the information age. With her elaborate moving-image films, the artist challenges the logic of linear narration, traditional systems of order, and common evaluations of work, gender, power, and social visibility. Price is interested in the rereading of data, the observation of marginal notes and secondary information. Through her specific process of digital deconstruction and retelling, her videos allow for polyphonic new perspectives on social structures.
2. NEW WORKS SHOWN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN GERMANY
From March 23 to May 29, 2023, the SCHIRN is presenting a major solo exhibition by the Turner Prize winner, including both new and recent works that are being shown for the first time in Germany. The Schirn shows two expansive installations, each with two corresponding video works: "A RESTORATION" (2016) and "FELT TIP" (2018), as well as "UNDERFOOT" (2022) and "NIGHT OF THE WORLD" (2023). Between the two video installation rooms, the SCHIRN also presents four video lectures that Price created during the lockdown measures of the Covid-19 pandemic. Shown for the first time in an exhibition setting at the SCHIRN, these provide an in-depth examination of the artist’s methods and motifs.
3. SOUND EXPERIENCES THAT INSPIRE REFLECTION
A key component of these works is their deployment of sound in space. The visual and sonic narrative is created through the acoustic atmosphere of a technological-synthetic voice-over. The title of the SCHIRN exhibition refers to the breaking of a glass goblet at the end of the video—a break that marks a moment of transition.
Matthias Ulrich, curator of the exhibition, on the artist:
Sound in particular plays a crucial role for the artist, as the title of the exhibition already declares. She thus makes markers in her art in order to emphasize changes, decisions, and consequences, both formally and politically.
4. ART, BASED ON METICULOUS RESEARCH
Price’s moving-image works are grounded in a conceptual approach. Each of her videos is the result of meticulous research and a wide-ranging examination of archives and collections of material. In the course of her digital appropriation, Price develops new narratives from art objects and documents of historical events. Initially working with PowerPoint, and now with a professional video-editing program, the artist creates moving-image films that combine photographs, archival materials, documents, text, graphics, animation, and sound to form new contexts.
The video "A RESTORATION" (Two-channel video, 2016, 19 min., commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society for the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) has been developed by Price on the basis of the image archives of the Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. The focus is on photographs, drawings, and paintings that Sir Arthur Evans, archaeologist and first director of the Ashmolean, made or commissioned during his restoration of the Bronze Age city of Knossos on the island of Crete. With the help of these digitized documents, Price retells the story from the administration’s point of view.
5. FABULATIONS ABOUT THE "INTELLIGENCE" OF THINGS
Price's video works can in many cases be understood as fabulations. Starting from existing archival material, her works often tell stories in which things take on a kind of life or "intelligence" of their own. With "NIGHT OF THE WORLD" (Single-channel video, 2023, 20 min.), the Schirn presents a version of the video "WEST HINDER" (2012, commissioned by Film London), updated especially for this exhibition. It is dedicated to the ship Tricolor, which sank in December 2002 in an area of the English Channel called West Hinder, located between the British Isles and mainland Europe. It details a fantasy narrative in which the ship’s cargo of 2896 luxury cars acquires a kind of consciousness. Their “intelligent vehicle control systems” develop a language derived from user manuals and press releases. As a chorus of synthetic voices, the vehicles address viewers through moving graphics on the screen.