Still from "a tiny place that is hard to touch" by Shelly Silver

Professor Shelly Silver in Four Exhibits this Fall

BY Audrey Deng, October 17, 2019

This fall, Associate Professor Shelly Silver has art in four exhibits: three in Germany and one in Japan.

Silver, born in Brooklyn in 1957, is a New York-based artist working with the still and moving image. She studied at Cornell University and Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Studio Program. Starting as a photographer, she moved to bookmaking and then settled on the moving image. After graduating, she worked extensively in the industry as a film and video editor. Her experience in commercial film and television, as well as her early entanglement with conceptual art and structuralism, led her to speak about the world through a formal bending of film and television grammar.

Silver’s works range from spaces both massive—installations with multiple walls forming a labyrinth—to the imaginary, like Score for Joanna Kotze, which is an imaginary room resembling a swimming pool.

Score for Joanna Kotze opens at the DOK Leipzig in Germany and runs Oct. 28 – Nov. 3. In this piece, according to the gallery, “Shelly Silver has designed a four-minute associative stream of consciousness that also accounts for environmental pollution in the Italian Mediterranean.” This video goes hand-in-hand with a word-image score written for the American choreographer Joanna Kotze, who directed the dancers in the video.

Also in Germany, a group of five artists will share their works at the Haus der Universität Düsseldorf. There, Silver’s intimate film essay about New York’s Chinatown neighborhood reveals the cultural subtext of the place in a mixture of Mandarin, Cantonese and English. This show opens on Oct. 24, 2019.

In Berlin, Silver’s 1996 film Former East / Former West plays at the Arsenal in an event remembering life before and after the Berlin Wall. According to the gallery, “[These movies] are ghost trips through East Germany, which still appears like a phantom despite having ceased to exist, and through a new Germany of an unclear nature.” The show opened Oct. 14, 2019.

Finally, screening in Tokyo’s Art Center is Silver’s 38-minute film a tiny place that is hard to touch. The experimental film tells the story of an American woman who hires a Japanese woman to translate interviews about Japan’s declining birthrate.The film’s world premiere took place in the Berlinale/Forum Expanded on Feb. 10 earlier this year, and will run next on Oct. 20 in Tokyo.