Gary Hill
Suspension of Disbelief (for Marine), 1991-1992

Hill uses electronic images to investigate the relationships between language, bodily perception, thought, and feeling. When he began working with video in 1973, he was already experienced in performance art and sculpture, both of which have continued to inform his practice. He uses the video camera to capture an action, which he often performs himself. He sometimes frames the resultant images within metallic structures that refer to his early sculptural works, which he used as props for his staged performances.

“Rarely is the autobiographical aspect of my work mentioned,” notes Hill. “Deconstruction and semiotics are fine, but sometimes theory misses the simplicity that can engender a work — some life event that provides the impulse to do it. Suspension of Disbelief is a case in point. I had been seeing a French woman, and given that we lived on separate continents, the relationship was difficult. This piece was a way of bridging the gap. Some of the recording involved meeting halfway in New York, where I videotaped Marine on a hotel bed using a handheld camera. This was the second “switch piece’ I did so I still had the energy to do two-frame edits one at a time. The continual “firing’ of the images keeps the bodies moving and entangled and the traces of the screens active and alive, only to evaporate with erasure. This turned out to be very apropos.”

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Suspension of Disbelief (for Marine)
Artist name
Gary Hill
Date created
video installation
four-channel video installation, silent
12 in. × 330 in. × 9 in. (30.48 cm × 838.2 cm × 22.86 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Purchase through a gift of the Agnes E. Meyer and Elise Stern Haas Fund, and the Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Patricia and Raoul Kennedy, Pamela and Richard Kramlich, Lisa and John Miller, Chara Schreyer and Gordon Freund, Norah and Norman Stone, and Robin Wright) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund, 2004)
© Gary Hill
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Gary Hill

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