GoMA - Glasgow Museum of Modern Art
Hito Steyerl (b.1966, Munich) is a documentary filmmaker and author who lives and works in Berlin. The artist explores the mass proliferation of images and knowledge brought on by digital technologies through the fields of documentary film / video, media art and video installation. Her work frequently has political content and is often delivered through the internet’s context of presentation – tumblr pages, computer screens and other media. In 2015 she represented Germany in the 56th Venice Biennale and has presented recent solo shows at institutions including The Chicago Institute, the Van Abbemuseum, ICA and The Reina Sofía Museum. In 2016, Steyerl has an upcoming solo show entitled Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA.
Abstract (2012) is a two-channel video commemorating a childhood friend of Steyerl’s called Andrea Wolf, who became an activist and revolutionary and was eventually killed in the Kurdish region of Turkey in 1998 when fighting for the PKK. Wolf was already subject of Steyerl’s films November (2004) and Lovely Andrea (2007), and Abstract shows Steyerl visiting the site where her friend died, examining ammunition casings that most likely killed her. Instead of including any pictures of Wolf, the Kurdish guide recounts the circumstances surrounding her death. On the other screen Steyerl is in Berlin, taking cell phone pictures of an office of Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of weapons sold by the German government to the Turkish Army. Combining cinematography, globalisation and warfare, it reveals how the political and private are closely interconnected.
The acquisition of Abstract (2012) by the Contemporary Art Society for GoMA is the first work by the artist to enter a UK public collection. GoMA has been researching and acquiring documentary media by influential female artists, increasing the representation of women working in this field within the city’s collection and highlighting the contribution of female artists to contemporary art practice overall. The film relates thematically and intellectually to a number of key recent acquisitions by the museum, including work by Walid Raad, Fiona Tan, Emily Jacir, Barbara Krueger and Jenny Holzer.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Collections Fund, 2015