Nan Hoover, Light Dissolves, 1975
Nan Hoover
Light Dissolves

Nan Hoover (*1931 †2008, USA, Germany) studied in Washington, DC, before she moved to Amsterdam in 1969 and became a Dutch citizen. She taught video and film at the Kunstakademie Düs- seldorf from 1987 to 1997. In 2005, she moved to Berlin, where she died in 2008. Along with Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell, Nan Hoover was one of the pioneers of video art in the 1970s. Her first light performance was held in Berlin in 1976, and from 1991 onward, she created spectacular light installations in public spaces. Her video works are contemplative explorations of the body, movement, light and shadow, creating abstract but also very sensual landscapes.

In this early performance piece, Hoover uses her body to experiment with light and shadow. The video begins with Hoover in stark silhouette against a white background. An abstracted form materialises in front of the silhouette, moving with the play of light. It reveals itself as her hand, which cuts through the picture plane and occupies the space in front of her. The sound is dramatic and evocative: a continuous humming, almost a Buddhist chant. A flash of light – and suddenly a transition in light – reveals a different composition altogether; more vertical and geometric, minimal and simple. Light Dissolves is a collection of picture planes for which the artist performs the compositions, each of which is separated by the dissolving light. JE

Courtesy Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst & Nan Hoover Foundation

Document media
Video, b&w, sound, 18:22 min

Issue date

abstraction, fragmentation, in/visibility, sound