Anno-nov nat geo

Kim Anno

San Francisco, CA | by May 1, 2012

To visit the stu­dio of Kim Anno, is to immerse your­self into a fluid envi­ron­ment.  Anno, an inter­na­tion­ally exhib­ited artist and chair of the paint­ing depart­ment at the Cal­i­for­nia Col­lege of the Arts, works in an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary man­ner, blend­ing paint­ing, video and pho­tog­ra­phy into a seam­less body of work. She is also an avid envi­ron­men­tal activist, com­bin­ing sci­ence and visual art to inves­ti­gate issues related to global warm­ing and water ris­ings.  And water, being the eerily poignant sig­ni­fier that it is, becomes the ele­ment that binds her work together. Her videos often fea­ture spe­cific objects immersed under­wa­ter, while spools of unfurl­ing pig­ments wind through the image like expand­ing mush­room clouds.  There is a med­i­ta­tive qual­ity to the decep­tively com­plex dance of ele­ments that she directs.  Often an accom­pa­ny­ing sound­track, both beau­ti­ful and unset­tling, height­ens this sense.While, Anno’s videos vac­il­late some­where between paint­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy, her paint­ings are no exception.

Flu­idly blur­ring the bound­aries between these seem­ingly dis­parate medi­ums, Anno’s lat­est body of oil on alu­minum paint­ings feels like some­thing between abstract expres­sion­ism and a video still.  Her paint­ings blend pho­to­graphic images of pop­u­lar water­side tourist sites with bold and seep­ing marks of trans­par­ent and opaque color.  In this way she both ref­er­ences the rep­re­sen­ta­tional image while break­ing it down into a more ele­men­tal level. What she cap­tures in these paint­ings is a dis­tinct moment.  The pho­to­graphic images under­neath, ini­tially ref­er­enc­ing spe­cific loca­tions Anno had vis­ited or wanted to visit, are slowly dis­solved by omi­nously swirling pigments.

The effect is that of a poi­son slowly and inevitably dif­fus­ing and thus destroy­ing the under­ly­ing pho­to­graph even as it cre­ates a new and dis­turbingly beau­ti­ful image.

“I paint on top of the pho­to­graphic image of these places in an attempt to love them to death, to adorn them, and ulti­mately dam­age them. I see this as a metaphor for human beings act­ing upon nature in the same way. We have to touch and touch it until it is erased or dis­ap­peared, until the very thing we chose for its beauty and sub­lime qual­i­ties is a shadow.” –Kim Anno

While dis­sect­ing uncom­fort­able issues, Anno’s work is any­thing but didac­tic.  After all, it is the artist’s hand that lays down the paint, ulti­mately sym­bol­iz­ing her own par­tic­i­pa­tion in the larger picture.

In 2011, Anno attended the United Nations Cli­mate Change Con­ven­tion in Dur­ban, South Africa.  Over 200 coun­tries were rep­re­sented, includ­ing the G8 along with devel­oped and devel­op­ing world nations.  Dur­ing this con­fer­ence, Anno was invited to par­tic­i­pate in the exhibit “Don’t Panic” curated by Gabi Ngcobo and Joyti Mys­try, pro­fes­sors at Witer­swand Uni­ver­sity in Johan­nes­burg.  This exhi­bi­tion marked one of the first times visual arts con­tributed to the pub­lic debate at this cli­mate change summit.

Anno plans to con­tinue her newest body of video work, “Men and Women in Water Cities”, a multi chan­nel film shot around the world vis­it­ing post sea level rise soci­eties, at the next United Nations Cli­mate Change Con­ven­tion to be held in Qatar in 2012.  Anno will be pro­ject­ing the Dur­ban chap­ter of this video series onto a “float­ing city” instal­la­tion dur­ing a solo exhi­bi­tion at the Goethe Insti­tute in Johan­nes­burg in June 2012.

Anno, like her visual art, con­tin­u­ally works to blur the line between visual art and activism.  She believes art can have a strong impact on the con­scious­ness of global lead­ers and agents of change.  When asked about her role as an artist con­cerned with adap­ta­tion, Anno responded, “My role is to be a light­en­ing rod. I want to rearrange expec­ta­tions of the viewer. I want to touch the viewer where they live, or where they might take a sec­ond look”.

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  • dee lowe says:

    This work has struck a chord with me. Very pow­er­ful and telling. There is a kind of humour under­ly­ing the strug­gle of the water videos and I love that! Con­grat­u­la­tions and thanks for allow­ing me to expe­ri­ence what you do.

  • Alia says:

    I always use the build-​​in video doeanoldwr of my Avant browser, it will show you a down­load but­ton on top right cor­ner. Even the ADS before videos can be downloaded.

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