Diana Thater

25 June - 11 July 2009


Hauser & Wirth presents Diana Thater’s Untitled Videowall (Butterfly) (2008) in our Swallow Street gallery. This will coincide with her participation in an exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum that will include an installation of gorillagorrillagorilla. Thater’s works merges different kinds of spaces: the flat screens of video, the architecture that encloses them and the spaces inside viewers’ heads. Whilst her pieces create ambient, immersive environments of chromatic intensity, ultimately they celebrate the individual’s solitary subjective experience. Thater’s work explores the near-impossibility of experience outside the influences of culture. Her installations describe a technologically mediated nature while laying bear the mechanics of media representation. Animals feature as a re-occurring subject matter, yet when manipulated by Thater through video monitors and light saturated environments they attain a baroque artificiality heightened by the complete absence of sound. To make gorillagorrillagorilla (2009), commissioned by the Kunsthaus Graz and the Natural History Museum, she spent time filming in Cameroon’s Mefou National Park lowland gorilla reserve, where the endangered species is protected from hunters. The large-scale, multipart video installation turns the jungle into an interactive show in which the gorilla’s gaze reflects back on us. In Untitled Videowall (Butterfly), five video monitors form a petal formation on the floor. They are bathed in an orange glow that emanates from a strip light placed in the corner of the room. Depicting butterflies in motion, their patterns display a complex choreography, presenting the viewer with what Thater has described as 'a theatrical encounter with the otherworldly.' Diana Thater was born in 1962 in San Francisco. She studied at New York University and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Thater began exhibiting her video installations in 1990 and her work has featured in significant international exhibitions. Major solo shows include 'Diana Thater. Orchids in the Land of Technology' at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1997); 'Projects 64: Diana Thater: The best animals are the flat animals', MoMA, New York (1998); 'Knots + Surfaces', DIA Center for the Arts, New York (2001); and 'gorillagorrillagorilla', Kunsthaus Graz (2009). 'gorillagorrillagorilla' tours to the Natural History Museum, London, where it can be seen as part of 'After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions' from 26 June until 29 November.

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About the Artist

Diana Thater

For over two and a half decades, Diana Thater has explored the precarious relationship between culture and nature in her new media practice. Frequently using animals and natural phenomena as subjects, her precisely choreographed video installations immerse the viewer in ambient environments and invite new ways of seeing the world.

Current Exhibitions