Dóra Maurer – Thinking in Proportions


Index, Index 046, German, 2016, Austria

Observing other people staring at their smartphone screen for hours, we’d wonder what should represent a similar cultural endeavour to what video art represented in the seventies for television? If it wouldn’t look old-fashioned, even some acknowledged early video art would be informative, and finally question the never-questioned smart media. Another remarkable effort by Index DVD editions is this collection of video art pieces by Hungarian artist Dóra Maurer. Among her works, the videos included here prove her main poetics, which is about “movement and displacement”. It’s easy to find these qualities in almost all the works included here. Particularly the dissection of time and image in “Retardation”, where a woman’s face is broken into pieces and played with, while at the same time the screen and its ever-changing content is dividing and unifying. Similarly, “Triolets” plays with different optical perspectives of the same subject recorded through a swinging camera, then mechanically assembled dividing the screen in three parts, like a horizontal triptych. What Maurer seems to do is to map the screen space while performing it through an open gate between the screen and the viewer. That’s why these works look so recent (apart from the video quality). Certainly, producing some of the ideas in the seventies and early eighties would have been a technical challenge, but having them released again forty years later states how ‘movement and displacement’ are still very relevant.