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Sarah Morris (US) ‘Artist in Focus’ in Rotterdam

Image culture and film-related artworks will have a high profile at the upcoming International Film Festival Rotterdam. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be presenting a solo exhibition of paintings and screenings of films by famous American artist and filmmaker Sarah Morris, who has been selected as this year’s Artist in Focus. The festival’s ‘Exploding Television’ sidebar will examine the media landscape, and television in particular. Rotterdam-based cultural institutions TENT. and Witte de With will be transformed into a ‘Satellite of Love’; a television community with activist television from the UK, Lithuania, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. ‘Satellite of Love’ will incorporate an international exhibition of television-related artworks and arts installations.

Sarah Morris (London, 1967) has become known as painter of shiny, abstract geometric canvases. A second glance reveals that her paintings refer directly to the facades, atriums and lobbies of modern office buildings and hotels. At the same time, Morris has put together a film oeuvre based on the same feeling of contemporary urban environments. Her non-narrative films show similar facades, hotel lobbies and electronic billboards. Morris is interested in the meanings lurking behind the seemingly neutral, artificial surfaces of the urban landscape. After Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Isaac Julien and Anri Sala in earlier festival editions, Sarah Morris is the fourth ‘Artist in Focus’ to feature in the collaboration between the International Film Festival Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The choice of Sarah Morris, an artist who succeeds in bringing together media not easily combined, such as painting and film-making, defines the scope and topicality of the film-related exhibitions that make up part of the festival programme.

Each year, the Rotterdam festival places a specific aspect of film- and video-related arts and image culture in the spotlight. This year, the programme section Exploding Television (curated by festival programmer Edwin Carels) will focus on the changing media landscape, and television in particular. Digital broadcasters are rapidly growing in number; the convergence of television, the internet and mobile communication is causing a radical change in the way television programmes are presented to viewers. For the occasion of Exploding Television, TENT. and Witte de With (centres for contemporary art in Rotterdam) will be transformed into a ‘Satellite of Love’: the headquarters of a TV community where television producers and visual artists will present their works. The exhibition includes an afternoon and evening series of public screenings, masterclasses and TV Dinners.

The heart of ‘Satellite of Love’ during the festival period will be the active involvement of five collective groups of experimental and activist television-makers: CAC TV from Vilnius (Lithuania), Ambient TV from London (UK), Orfeo TV-Telestreet from Bologna (Italy), tv-tv from Copenhagen (Denmark) and Taalpolitie from Rotterdam/Brussels (the Netherlands/Belgium). They will show recent work and produce new television programmes on the spot.

The exhibition part of ‘Satellite of Love’ (that will continue to run after the festival period, until March 26, 2006) includes recent and new artworks by, among others, Franz Ackermann, AL+AL, Francis Alÿs, John Logie Baird, Mark Bain, Angela Bulloch, Dias & Riedweg, Pierre Bismuth & Michel Gondry, Laurent Grasso, Isabelle Jenniches, Erik van Lieshout, Yves Netzhammer, Melik Ohanian, Daniel Sauter & Osman Kahn, Monika Sosnowska, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Francesco Vezzoli.

In addition, ‘Exploding Television’ will burst out through VPRO Digitaal, the online television channel of Dutch public broadcasting network VPRO and through local television in Rotterdam.

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