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David Claerbout in Unseen Sound

In spring and summer 2021, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art will show solo exhibitions by David Claerbout, Rodney Graham, and Sophia Al-Maria, three artists who work with film and video and expand our understanding of the moving image—its forms, functions, and the emotions it can invoke.

The cycle begins with the first solo exhibition of Belgian artist David Claerbout in Russia. His work is best defined as a hybrid, where media dissolve into one another using video, photography, film, and 3D to create images that question our perceptions and expectations.

Unseen Sound brings together four works that span a period of more than ten years, and show the artist’s increasing occupation with what he describes as “dark optics,” a term he uses to describe the contemporary state of the image. Claerbout believes that the century-and-a-half long dominance of lens-based media in art came to an end in the twentieth century, and that the production of art has now returned to the paradigm that existed before the 1850s, or before the spread of photography. Today, he argues, images are once again produced by skilled craftsmen, who manipulate reality using graphics and video editors. Meanwhile public trust in the photographic image began to falter in the 1970s and today the idea of photography as a document and evidence has given way to fundamental doubt regarding any image, fuelled by the increasing effectiveness and availability of digital editing tools.