Tony Oursler 2015 “Classifier Cascades” press release
Bernier/Eliades gallery is pleased to announce the opening of the solo exhibition of the American artist Tony Oursler, on Thursday, October 1, 8:00-10:00 pm. This is his sixth solo exhibition at Bernier/Eliades.
Tony Oursler stands as a major figure within the evolution of video art. He was one of the first artists to understand the limitations of the television monitor as the primary framing device for video images, taking them out of the box and making them function in three-dimensions.
From his first single channel videos of the 70’s and 80’s to the dummies of the 90’s, the central axis of his work is the human body and how it is affected by violence, media, sexuality, mental disorders, technology. During the late 90’s he begins to concentrate on groups of smaller works such as the Eyes Series and the Talking Heads, where he reduces his ideas to a bare minimum.
His new solo exhibition at Bernier/Eliades, centers around his fascination with the evolution of identity via techniques of facial recognition technology. The artist focuses on the contemporary trend that creates machines to interpret and measure human expressions and he is fascinated by modern psychology and sophisticated mimetic technologies. Oursler explores the ways in which the human body uses its own corporeal mechanisms, especially the face and head, to express identity and project emotions.
His new show features several large aluminum panels in abstract shapes, resembling faces, each coated in a different reflective, metallic surface. Embedded with video screens depicting mouths and eyes, these visages also bear the marks and geometric patterns of algorythmic facial recognition mapping, combining human expression with electronic profiling.
The intention of the artist is to invite the viewer to see himself through the eyes of the machines recently created by mankind. The increasing complexity and predomination of facial scanning in society is the key to comprehend Oursler’s new works. These works raise questions about the biometric data in facial scans, iris patterns and fingerprints that all add to our invisible electronic profiles, amounting to a threatening accumulation of personal information on databases that categorize humans according to outward appearance, unique bodily features and even DNA sequencing. Through his new works Oursler doubts the purpose of teaching the machines to understand emotion, while exploring the evolution of human identity.
Tony Oursler was born in 1957 in New York. He graduated from the California Institute for the Arts (BFA) in 1979. He lives and works in New York.
His works have been exhibited in major museums worldwide including: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2014), Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev (2013), ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (2012), Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2005), Kunsthaus Bregenz (2001), Whitney Museum, New York (2000) and Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (1998). He has participated in exhibitions Documenta VIII and IX. His works are in major collections, including: the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Museum of Modern Art, New York, National Museum of Osaka, Japan, Tate Gallery, London, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and ZMK / Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany.