Diana Thater: gorillagorillagorilla at Aspen Art Museum

Diana Thater


Nov 6, 2015-Feb 21, 2016

Aspen Art Museum

637 East Hyman Avenue

Aspen, Colorado 81611

Los Angeles–based artist Diana Thater works in film, video, and installation to create media-bending pieces that often pursue subjects of natural phenomena—in particular, the subjectivity of animals. The Aspen Art Museum's presentation of Thater's gorillagorillagorilla (2009) is in tandem with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's exhibition Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination, the most comprehensive survey of her work to date.

gorillagorillagorilla, an immersive film environment with wall-sized projections of jungle brush encompassing the gallery, centers on the western lowland gorillas of Cameroon's Mefou National Park reserve. Encaged for protection against bushmeat hunters, this endangered species has been captured by Thater's camera from three distinct perspectives: the free animal (filmed from above), the caged animal (filmed through the wire of the fencing), and the animal as seen through the lens of science (filmed with a species expert in the foreground of the frame). However, the structure of the video installation allows the shifting camera angles to be experienced simultaneously.

Thater reconciles these multiple perspectives and presents a more complete image of the captive animal as well as our relationship to it, a creature to which we are most closely related. Incorporating a reverence for nature by employing representational landscape imagery, Thater locates the possibility of transcendence and freedom within that landscape while addressing the problematics of species endangerment through her dynamic lens.