The best outside is the inside
Two video monitors, two Brightsign players
Since the mid-1990s, American artist Diana Thater, who moved to California in 1991, has created “sculptures with images of nature in space”1 to deconstruct the unresolved tensions between the natural environment and the culture of technology, between wilderness and domesticity. She also explores the tensions between scientific knowledge and magical thinking, between institutions and the body, and between the exhibition as a system and the gaze. Diana Thater’s favorite topics are what we would call environmental subjects, specifically non-human flora and fauna, which she always frames with a meditation on the video format and its formal, structural, and temporal properties.
The best outside is the inside is highly representative of Diana Thater’s work. Two video monitors show the same subject, a forest at night (in the Los Angeles Arboretum), in different ways: one shows a fixed view, while the other shows a series of reverse shots, some of which show the film crew filming the first view. The closed-circuit installation thus offers different perspectives on the same object and in this endless loop, the illusion of being able to pass freely from one viewpoint to another. Diana Thater is questioning the supposed neutrality of the viewer, who in turn becomes the object of someone else’s attention. The presence of two screens expresses the need to approach the same object from different viewpoints. What if the forest is watching us this time? The film deconstructs our relationship to the landscape. It no longer is the medium of our aesthetic intentions, rather an environment in which a set of relations play out, of which we are just one link.
© Diana Thater. Courtesy Diana Thater / David Zwirner
© Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier. Photo : Aurélien Mole. Courtesy Pinault Collection
Pinault Collection © Diana Thater. Courtesy Diana Thater / David Zwirner / Photo Fredrik Nilsen