2010 Open Prize

Jasmina Metwaly, the winner of the 2010 Open Prize for video painting, says of her work: ‘It allows me to be in control, but I also lose control over the medium.’ The remark is characteristic of video painting, which differs in several ways from conventional video art. The ‘canvas’ for this kind of painting is a projector or a video screen, and the painting is determined by the camera view, which is from a fixed point. No editing or artistic manipulation is allowed, and there is no soundtrack.

The video painting movement only began in 2001, in response to Hilary Lawson’s novel theory of ‘closure’ and ‘openness’. Lawson, a documentary maker, was frustrated by the limitations of his work. Thought and language, in Lawson’s view, played the disastrous role of closing the world’s openness. He made it his task in his early experiments to avoid meaning. Narrative remains foreign to video painting: its goal is to embrace the openness of visual experience, which requires the self-restraint of the artist. In Closure, Lawson expressed a sense that ‘we find ourselves in a world without certainties; without a fixed framework of belief; without truth’. Usual forms of description come up short so long as we think of ‘the world as a something which itself consists of things that might be described’.

‘Elevator’ by Michael Lightborne, Open Prize 2010

So video painting was born. The Open Gallery, which runs the prize, has provided a space for this art form since 2006. A number of exhibitions have followed. Metwaly’s winning entry, Crucifiction, shows three pylons in Sinai. The artist explains that ‘This video does not manifest, does not directly oppose or comment… I withdraw myself from the context and wait.’

Open Prize Exhibition 2010

Open Prize Exhibition 2010

If you would like to find out more, visit www.opengallery.co.uk.

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