Madeleine Altmann’s work interrogates the intersection of nature, technological change, and visual representation. Her video installations, created with reclaimed analog video monitors, re-appropriate seemingly obsolete objects, using them to explore the question of value in modern society. Often, Altmann inserts herself into the frame, disrupting the all too easy notion of a separation between nature and humanity.
The show, comprised of Altmann’s unseen installations, engages with our conflicted relationship between the natural world and technology. Her videoscapes are in a constant dialogue with Henry David Thoreau (Altmann lives a few miles away from Thoreau’s home and works in the same environment). His meditations are the starting point for a number of her themes: solitude, the connection between walking and artistic inspiration, and our conceptions of time. Just as Thoreau could speak of one killing time without injuring eternity, there is a paradoxical element to how this installation conceptualizes and presents time. Altmann’s rows and columns of monitors simultaneously compress and expand our immediate temporal experience. Many of these works took over three years to make, however, they are presented as a series of tightly bound yet simple moving images.
Her video installations are a combination of monitors ranging from old cathode ray tube monitors to the latest generation 4K displays. With the help of German video engineer Andreas Uthoff, the reclaimed video and computer monitors re-appropriate seemingly obsolete objects that explore the question of value in modern society.
Madeleine Altmann was born in São Paolo and has worked in the United States since the 1985. Her work is regularly shown at Petra Rietz Gallery in Berlin, and Gallery 555 in Boston. She has won awards from N.Y.U. and the American Film Institute. Building on a diverse set of influences, from the Edward Muybridge to Rebecca Solnit to Bill Viola, her works strives to present a landscape of both our internal and external worlds.