The arrangement of the monitors does not follow the logical organization of a human skeleton. Representations of Hill's ear and arched foot lie side by side; tucked modestly behind them is an image of his groin. On a torso-size screen, smooth, taut skin stretches over the ridges of bone that shape the human back. The image fills the frame, and the monitor, given its equivalent size, is perceived as part of the body: an enclosure, a vessel. Monitor and image exist as a unified object, as representation, as a living thing.
The long, nervelike wires attached to each monitor are bundled together like
spinal chords and snaked along the shelf, to disappear from view at the back
of the recess. Although it unites the system of monitors, this electrical network
emphasizes that the body parts are presented as extremities, without a unifying
torso. The hidden core to which the components of the body are attached serves
as a metaphor for a human being's invisible, existential center: the soul.
West Coast artist Gary Hill began working in video in the early 1970s. One-person exhibitions of his video environments have recently been held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Long Beach Museum of Art; and the Basel Kunsthalle. Photo: Marine Hugonnier, courtesy of Donald Young Gallery.
Copyright 1995 by The Museum of Modern Art, New York