Hyundai Artlab

Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination

LACMA
2015 - 2016
The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA
Installation photograph, Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 22, 2015-February 21, 2016, © Diana Thater
Installation photograph, Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 22, 2015-February 21, 2016, © Diana Thater
Photo © Fredrik Nilsen

Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination

November 22 2015 – February 21 2016, LACMA

About the Exhibition

Among the important figures to emerge during the 1990s, Los Angeles-based artist Diana Thater creates groundbreaking and influential works of art in film, video, and installation t...

Among the important figures to emerge during the 1990s, Los Angeles-based artist Diana Thater creates groundbreaking and influential works of art in film, video, and installation that challenge the normative ways in which moving images are experienced. Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination – presented as part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA – brought together 22 works from the early 1990s through 2015. Occupying approximately 20,000 square feet, it was the artist’s first comprehensive museum exhibition in the United States. Depicting a range of natural phenomena – such as dolphins in their fluid underwater world; honeybees, who communicate through dancing; monkeys and humans bridging a nebulous boundary between the tamed and the wild in Jaipur’s Galtaji Temple – Thater’s works explore the subjectivity of animals and the complex relationships humans have constructed with nature. In her breakthrough work Oo Fifi, Five Days in Claude Monet’s Garden, Part 1 and Part 2, created from footage shot at the Fondation Claude Monet in Giverny, France, video’s primary colors (RGB) were partially reconstructed or projected separately in order to enhance the medium’s impressionistic effects. As in other works in the exhibition, Oo Fifi also introduced an interactive dimension, by overlaying visitors’ shadows rendered in various hues onto the projected imagery.

Diana Thater (born in San Francisco, in 1962) draws from a wide variety of sources, including literature, animal behavior, mathematics, chess, and sociology and her evocative and layered imagery engages its surroundings to create complex relationships between time and space. Her dynamic, immersive installations address key issues that span the realms of film, museum exhibitions, the natural sciences, and contemporary culture through the deployment of movement, scale, and architecture. The primary emphasis of Thater’s work resides in the tension between the natural environment and mediated reality, and by extension, between the domesticated and wild, and science and magic. Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at ICA Watershed, Boston (2018), Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2018), The Mistake Room, Los Angeles (2017), Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul (2017), and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2016). Work by the artist is represented in museum collections worldwide including the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Museum of Art, Castello di Rivoli, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.