Museum of Contemporary Art / MCA Chicago
Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination presents a series of immersive film and video installations of habitats that reveals our potential to connect with and alter the natural world. The works in the exhibition—which fall somewhere between sculpture and architecture—also speak to the fluidity and limitations of film and video. Thater’s installations often incorporate the presence of the viewer’s body and even the projectors themselves.The colorful installations break out of the video rectangle to imagine fluid worlds of dolphins, dancing bees, and the resilient animals that rebounded after the irradiated explosion at Chernobyl.
The most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, the exhibition includes early work Oo Fifi, Five Days in Claude Monet’s Gardens (1992), which breaks footage into the primary colors of video (RGB), as well as the recent work, Life is a Time-Based Medium (2015), in which the architecture of the gallery converges with the Galtaji Temple in Jaipur, India, and is populated with monkeys.
Since the early 1990s, Diana Thater (American, b. 1962) has been a pioneer of film and video. Influenced by 1960s films that prioritized medium over narrative and content, she has forged meaningful connections between her subject matter and media to push the physical, optical, and conceptual boundaries of how moving images are experienced. Thater studied art history at New York University and received her MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Her work has been collected by major institutions across the United States.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website