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Campus Peter

Campus Peter

born in 1937

photographer, painter, videographer, director, media artist, producer, teacher

Peter Campus is a seminal figure in the history of video art. In a distinguished career that includes closed circuit installations, photography, and computer-based images, Campus' work in video is singular in its theoretical and formal significance.
His 1973 tape Three Transitions is one of the classic works in the medium. In an extraordinary series of videotapes produced from 1971 to 1976, Campus mapped the technical and symbolic parameters of the emergent medium as metaphors for the self. This rigorous investigation of the psychology of the self was undertaken as a systematic, phenomenological exploration of video's essential properties and formal foundations. Campus' earliest tapes are minimalist explorations of such effects as spatial dislocation and multiple vision.

Between 1973 and 1976, he produced a body of works at WGBH- TV in Boston that are landmarks in the medium. In these concise, anecdotal exercises, Campus the artist constructed a series of precise, formal actions for Campus the performer to carry out. Focusing on the result of a single action or technical effect on a human figure or face, usually seen in close-up, they depict powerfully symbolic self-examinations. Succinct and witty in execution, these episodic works are psychological, even philosophical, in resonance. Engaged in a direct address of the camera, exploiting video's intimate scale and space, Campus subjects his image (and those of others) to the basic technological elements of video — chroma-key, camera vision, simultaneity, color systems. He achieves metaphorical signification by charting video's electronic capabilities of illusion and reality, its potential to articulate multiple transformations and displacements of images. Exploring the symbolic power of technical and visual effects, Campus' strategies of dislocation and disjuncture of identity serve to both exploit and subvert the notion of video as a mirror.

During the 1970s, Campus also produced a remarkable body of closed circuit video installations and video projections, which are thematically and formally related to his tapes. In his live camera installations, such as mem (1975) and bys (1976), the spectator's physical position and perceptual experience are integral elements. In an examination of the self and its phenomenological extension in space, the human face and body are dislocated and displaced through mirror and negative images, inversions, shadows and doublings.

Campus' investigation of the self led him to explore the inherent properties of the closed circuit video medium, only to transcend them in a radical advancement of the art form that announced the medium's metaphorical potential through a thorough articulation of its basic codes.

In the 1980s Campus turned his artistic focus to photographic and computer-based works. In the late 1990s, he began working again with single-channel video and video installation.

Campus was born in 1937, in New York City. He received a B.S. in experimental psychology from Ohio State University and graduated from the City College Film Institute. Among the many awards he has received are a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was an artist-in-residence at the Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen, New York, and at WGBH-TV, Boston. Campus has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and New York University. His closed circuit installations, videotapes and photography have been widely exhibited internationally, in one-person shows at the Bykert Gallery, New York; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; Kunsthalle Breman, Germany; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and BFI Gallery, London, among many others.
He has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including Documenta 6, Kassel, Germany; Venice Biennale; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; PS1 Contemporary Arts Center, New York and Fukui International Video Festival, Japan.

Campus lives in East Patchogue, New York.


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