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Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

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Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
Installation View
Photo credit: Adam Reich

Tommy Hartung, Abraham, 2014

Abraham, 2014
Mixed media
46 by 45 by 33 inches
(116.8 by 114.3 by 83.8 cm)

Tommy Hartung, The Patriarchs, 2014

The Patriarchs, 2014
Mixed media
87 by 31 by 31 inches
(221 by 78.7 by 78.7 cm)

Tommy Hartung, David, 2014

David, 2014
Mixed media
43 by 27 by 29 inches
(109.2 by 68.6 by 73.7 cm)

Tommy Hartung, The Slum, 2014

Slum, 2014
Mixed media
80 by 38 by 55 inches
(203.2 by 96.5 by 139.7 cm)

Tommy Hartung, ILS, 2014

ILS, 2014
Mixed media
46 by 24 by 16 inches (116.8 by 61 by 40.6cm)

Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

Tommy Hartung, The Bible, 2014

THE BIBLE, 2014
HD Video (color, sound)
48 minutes

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More on Tommy Hartung

Tommy Hartung
THE BIBLE

October 19 – December 13, 2014

Press
The New York Times
Art in America (print)
Art in America (online)
The Village Voice
ARTINFO

On Stellar Rays is pleased to announce the opening — on Sunday, October 19 — of Tommy Hartung’s exhibition THE BIBLE. The exhibition marks the gallery’s third solo exhibition of Hartung’s work, and presents a feature length video, THE BIBLE, and an accompanying sculptural installation.

THE BIBLE is an animated sci-fi docudrama, sourcing the narrative structure and archival content of the Old Testament to create a cinematic dérive of fictitious news footage. The video investigates Hartung’s personal experiences with evangelicalism; broader cultural familiarity with biblical violence and sensationalism; and the atemporal and subjective recording of historic information that is specific to the Bible. Hartung weaves a similarly non-linear structure, using analogous contemporary forms of information dissemination – citizen journalism, fan labor, real-time video gameplay, browsing the web, surfing television channels, pervasive advertising – mirroring a world that remains steeped in sympathetic magic and anthropomorphism.

THE BIBLE contains numerous references to the Old Testament, often citing contemporary events in parallel. The fall of humanity is represented through allusions to Big Brother, war crime accounts, and American exceptionalism’s notions of democracy. Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning appears as a spectral projection to recite her statement to the court at sentencing, alluding to Joseph, son of Jacob, who was betrayed by his people. Other contemporary references present Vietnam veteran John Constantino, self-immolating on the National Mall during the government shutdown of 2013; firsthand footage of a Tamil family hiding in crude bunkers to avoid shelling; a heart-wrenching news account of the stoning of a gay couple in Kenya. These recent events portray the perpetual and inescapable impact of broader political and religious beliefs on the well-being of the individual.

Hartung’s video sets are hand-constructed in the studio, transforming commonplace materials into dynamic props and landscapes. Studio shots are spliced with actual found footage, using unconventional visual and audio effects. The process, along with post-editing and rotoscoping, recontextualizes wide-ranging news footage as science fiction.

Drawing upon a diverse range of influences, including Letterist filmmaker Isidore Isou, Adam Curtis, Jan Švankmajer, and Chris Marker, Hartung experiments with moving images and the conventions of narrative, fragmenting and deconstructing source material. Focusing on ideologies that use magical thinking to justify or explain violent and traumatic events, THE BIBLE continues Hartung’s ongoing interests in how belief systems are constructed through moving images to mesmerizing and powerful effect.