I Believe It Is an Image in Light of the Other

  • 1991-1992
  • Gary Hill
  • 7-video channels (NTSC, black-and-white, sound), 7 projectors, 38 books
  • ca. 369 x 290 x 332 cm

  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1992
  • Inventory number 1959

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Description I Believe It Is an Image in Light of the Other

In this installation, video images are projected onto books which are spread over the ground. Some are closed, others are open, while some have been stacked up. They are various different sizes, but they all have the same black cover. Some of the books are empty, some of them are printed with grey or black letters. The texts do not fit onto the pages; sentences, and sometimes even letters, are cut off. Above the books, seven black cylinders hang from the ceiling on cables just below eye level. The cylinders project images. Five times you see the fragments of a human body: hands, a face and a trunk. The sixth cylinder projects a chair, the seventh, written text. The videos last a few minutes and are constantly repeated. The installation is accompanied by the sound of hands slowly stroking a surface. The sound constantly increases and then diminishes.

The texts in the books, which Hill made himself, are taken from the book “Le dernier Homme” by the French author and philosopher Maurice Blanchot. They are written in the first person and are about lying in a dark space, about feeling, light, waking up and dying; in other words, about human physical and psychological experiences. Hill’s installation provides a visual translation of these texts in which the words and images either contrast or run parallel. For example, one cylinder projects text onto a text, while another projects a face with eyes shut onto a text which is about this. The books can be interpreted as the embodiment of the mental side of a person, in which the immaterial medium of language is essential. However, they are much more materially present than the projected body parts, which represent the physical aspects of man.

Hill presents an image that is fragmentary. Not only are there different books and projections, but the texts and body parts are also fragments of a larger whole. All these fragments together produce a total experience in which the parts cannot always be distinguished from each other. The constant repetitions of sounds and images undermine an awareness of time. Hill’s choices with regard to form correspond to his intentions in terms of content: human consciousness. This consciousness is the result of a mixture of experiences, both psychological and physical.