Descriptions Four Short Films
Contemporaneous to his best-known video works, these Super-8mm films represent Baldessari’s conceptual engagement with motion picture film, pointing to the technical strengths and weaknesses of the celluloid medium relative to video, such as the superior reproduction of color, on one hand, and the difficulty of adding synchronized sound on the other. Conceived on an intimate scale (only the artist’s hands are visible as he manipulates a range of objects), Baldessari’s Super-8 films replace text and speech with a cunning visual language, in which he wordlessly describes physical changes in his environment: a bright light flashes on a mirrored surface, red liquid rises in a thermometer, and powdered pigment makes an indelible mess. Here Baldessari employs a method of communication that is based on spectacle rather than performance.
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