Nan Hoover

1931New York, United States | 2008Berlin, Germany
Nan Hoover — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nan Hoover, Self-Portrait, 2004, color photograph, 33 x 47.5 cm, © Nan Hoover Foundation

— Nan Hoover Foundation

Dutch-American visual artist, performer and painter.

Born in the United States, Nan Hoover obtained Dutch citizenship in 1975. Along with Bill Viola (born 1951), Douglas Gordon (born 1966) and Nam Jun Paik (1932–2006), she belongs to the pioneering generation of video artists. Trained at the Corcoran Gallery School of Art in Washington, she moved to Amsterdam in 1969, then to Germany in 2003. The works that she painted and drew over a span of twenty years assured her relative fame, before she discovered video art in 1973 and became seduced by the possibilities of transparency and light. Pictorial concerns remained in her videos and installations, which were marked by a play of forms, shadows and light. During the 1980s, she often filmed herself with macro perspectives, creating abstract images that become figurative as her body slowly appears on camera. In Half Sleep (1984), she gives a fragmented glimpse of her face, which becomes pure form eclipsed by shadow. Her “documentary” method – without editing and where real time predominates – contributes to the intensification of tension between the abstract and the figurative, between painting and film.

Her interest in the potential of form, from movement to light, led to her hybrid installations in which the play of light, photography, architecture and performance unite. The artist also explored in depth the specificities and limits of each medium. Thus, the “intensity and immediacy of a moment”, as she stated in relation to performance art, was one of her principal sources of inspiration. In her luminous installations, the artist explored architecture and exterior spaces (Die Spur des Lichtes, “the trace of light”, 1991, Glyptothek Museum, Munich, RischArt Prize). Her works, which established a quite enigmatic rapport with the spectator, have been regularly presented in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The artist also participated in Documenta 6 (1977) and 8 (1987) in Kassel (Germany), and the 1984 Venice Biennial.

Lucia Ramos Monteiro

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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