Artist Anthea Behm’s developing project Frame/Work hinges upon our changing relationship to perspective. As theorists from Erwin Panofsky to Hito Steyerl have argued, linear perspective was based on an abstract idea of a single, rational, non-moving subject who could capture reality in an immobile glance. This artistic construction of an ideal viewer has crumbled throughout the past century, precipitated within the art field by abstraction, in art theory by the rise of affect studies, and within culture more broadly by the increased prevalence of vertical perspective in moving satellites, drones, and GPS mapping.
Frame/Work aims to understand the multiplicities in image-making engendered in this shift. Breaking with the didacticism of certain forms of interventionist art, Behm’s intention with the work is to instead offer a multi-perspectival view on image-making today, one that mirrors the transformation of the image itself.
The work will encompass the elements of contemporary video—drones, photography, performance, landscape, and object design—as well as the history of perspectival painting to create a work exploring the status of the image in a rapidly changing world. The work is in the preliminary stages of development. Behm recently produced a sketch of these ideas during a collaborative workshop with students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago1. During the workshop, a vertical camera was utilized to film actors in choreographed and improvised movements, as they responded to a poetic rendering of a user’s manual for the Canon Mark III camera. The poetic rendering was commissioned to draw out the latent affects hidden in the supposedly objective and rational apparatus of the camera and its instructions, as well as to reveal the operator’s hand that used to be visible in the artist’s brushstrokes.
While at High Concept Labs, Behm will continue to develop the work through research, collaborative workshops with performers, and technical tests. Multiple perspectives of the performance will be filmed for a flexible-form video. This is in order to create a work that is not fixed—a frame/work, not a frame bolted fast to a museum wall. It is through this multiplicity, this work, that new frames and positions are continually formed.
1. Maia Samos, Hazkel Brown, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Elizabeth Judd, Caroline Wright, Alissa Chanin, Rj Paskanthi, Annie Weiseth
Anthea Behm works with and between photography, video, performance, and painting. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and BFA from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia. Behm has had solo exhibitions at Minerva, Sydney; Golden Gallery, Chicago; Ideas Platform, Artspace, Sydney; and db projects, Sydney.
Recent group exhibitions include A Painting Is A Painting Isn’t A Painting, curated by Hamza Walker, The Kadist Foundation, San Francisco; Affect and Exchange curated by Benison Kilby at Kings, Melbourne; and Vox X: Present Tense, curated by Matthew Brannon and Howie Chen at Vox Populi, Philadelphia.
Her work has also been included in exhibitions at NADA, Miami; Smack Mellon, New York; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, and screenings at The Dedalus Foundation, New York; the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki. Behm participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, the Core Program, Museum of Fine Art Houston, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, X-TRA, I-D Magazine, Kaleidoscope, and Art & Australia, and her writing has been published in Feminism Reframed: Reflections on Art and Difference, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.