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Jennifer West


Selected Film Excerpts Compilation (2005-2009)
Selected Film Excerpts Compilation (2011-13)
One Mile Film (2012)


Jennifer West is a Los Angeles based artist, who for over ten years, has gained international recognition for her explorations of materialism in film. She started using direct film techniques in 2005, and has since produced eighty-two films. She has subjected every film stock to a range of substances including pepper spray, gamma rays or water from the Great Salt Lake and by staging interactive events where people are invited to perform actions to the filmstrips, like writing, throwing or kissing. The results are tactile, abstract documents of matter, action and idea, which are then transferred to a digital format and presented as projection. She uses a diverse range of approaches in her artistic practice, from her intensely haptic works that involve fluids and stains of all sorts, to her more recent ruminations on film and memory.

She is best known for the live performance, "Skate the Sky" staged at the Tate Modern in London in 2009 where she invited skateboarders to skate over filmstrips taped to the floor of the Turbine Hall and for her project, One Mile Film" (for High Line Art, NY) where the artist taped a mile-long filmstrip to the length of the High Line walk-way in New York City for one-day allowing the visitors to leave their mark on the film by writing messages, drawing, and walking on the filmstrip. Her recent work has taken the form of interactive light installations and sculptural walls of filmstrips.

“As an artist who works predominantly with the moving image, Jennifer West challenges the spectator to question the mercurial nature of media in the information age. Born in the middle of 20th century, with a childhood and adolescence that spanned the transition from analogue (film and print photography) to digital (consumer grade video), and now teaching a generation of digital natives, West uses her films, installations, performance, lectures, and writing to engage with the complexities of the total cognitive, psychic, and aesthetic shift in our understanding, perception, and uses of the recorded image. “ – Rita Gonzalez, Jennifer West: Across Time and Through Media Catalogue, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, 2018

She received an MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and a BA with film and video emphasis from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Significant commissions include Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2016-2017; Institute of Contemporary Arts, Art Night, London, 2016; High Line Art, New York, 2012; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2010; and Turbine Hall at TATE Modern, London, 2009. West has exhibited widely in museums and art institutions internationally. Her solo exhibitions include: “Is Film Over?” Yuz Museum, Shanghai 2017; “Film is Dead…” Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2017; “Action Movies, Painted Films and History Collage”, Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro, Nuoro, 2017; “Flashlights Filmstrips Projections”, Tramway, Glasgow, 2016; “Paintballs and Pickle Juice”, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg, 2010; “Perspectives 171: Jennifer West”, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 2010; “Lemon Juice and Lithium”, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow 2008; “White Room: Jennifer West”, White Columns, New York, 2007, etc. Group shows include: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2019/2017; Whitney Museum, New York, 2017; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 2015; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2013; Nottingham Contemporary/Tate St Ives, England (2013); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2010; Drawing Center, NY, 2008; Musee d’Art Contemporain (CAPC), Bordeaux, 2007; and ZKM Museum for New Media, Karlsruhe, 2007