Gary Hill



Werk - Mouthpiece
Artist / Artist group
Gary Hill
video, Analog video
Material / Technique
U-Matic, color, stereo
Dimensions / Duration
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien

In Gary Hill’s video »Mouthpiece«, two planes of images overlap: The artist’s mouth can be seen in the background, and above it, as a semitransparent image, is a graphic representation of red lips against a purple background, which runs across the image from top to bottom. The artist blows a kiss to every mouth that glides past. After four kisses, the artist vibrates his lips by expelling air. For the duration of this sound, the semitransparent image changes. It shows five of the graphic lips on top of each other. The artist then sticks out his tongue and emits a throaty “Ahhh.” Here, too, the semitransparent image seems to react to the sound. For the duration of the “Ahhh,” a huge pair of lips flickers across the screen. The sequence of kissing, vibrating the lips, and sticking out the tongue is shown a total of five times. The piece combines a gesture of tenderness (the kiss), childish silliness (the vibrating of the lips), and aggression (the sticking out of the tongue). The strictly formal structure stands in stark contrast to the emotional significance of the mouth. The artist plays with this contradiction by systematically running through the vocabulary of the lips. The title of the work can be read both as “a piece about the mouth” and as “mouthpiece,” for example, as found in wind instruments.

Author: Margit Rosen

About the artist/s