Likening video technology to a “new paintbrush,” Shigeko Kubota was among the first generation of artists to embrace video, exploring the potential of the nascent medium in the early 1970s. She developed a unique form of video sculpture that extended her otherworldly portraits and landscapes into three-dimensional forms made from plywood and sheet metal, often incorporating mirrors and flowing water. By combining “the energy of electrons” with these raw materials, she proposed a life for video beyond the constraints of the “TV box.” The first solo presentation of the artist’s work at a US museum in 25 years, this exhibition sheds light on how these sculptures—which draw parallels between nature, technology, and time—continue to resonate in today’s digitally interconnected world.
Kubota observed, “[In] video’s reality, infinite variation becomes possible...freedom to dissolve, reconstruct, mutate all forms, shape, color, location, speed, scale...liquid reality.” This exhibition focuses primarily on the period between 1976 and 1985, when, alongside her Duchampiana series, Kubota looked to the natural environment as a means of examining the video medium, the world, and her place in it. From Three Mountains (1976-79), which draws on the artist’s time spent in the deserts of the western United States, to Berlin Diary: Thanks to My Ancestors (1981), an electronic monument, Kubota examined how technology can offer new ways of understanding our own humanity.
Organized by Erica Papernik-Shimizu, Associate Curator, with the support of Veronika Molnar, Intern, Department of Media and Performance.