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Tetsuo, Bound to Fail
Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, 19/09/1969
DVD. Single channel video (colour image and sound)
17 min. 30 sec.
Late 20th century
Acquired in 2001
After earing A Bachelor's in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country, Sergio Prego has lived and worked as an artist in New York since 1995. His works are made using a variety of procedures ranging from sculpture and photography to installation, performance, technological art and the incorporation of the mass media, although all of them are based on video as the final medium. In 2003 he won the Altadis Fine Arts Award, and in 2012 the Basque government awarded him the Gure Artea in recognition of his creative activity.
Prego belongs to a generation of artists who got their start in the 1990s. They contextualise the artistic object within a sculptural tradition and recognise the importance of performativity when generating meaning in a work. However, even though he is included among the ranks of video artists, he neither feels like nor is a video artist; instead, he merely uses video as a medium to record his performances, and technology has become a key tool in constructing his scenes.
Since 1998, his works have been characterised by the use of a device that captures the same movement simultaneously from different vantage points. This fragmentary perception is reconstructed, almost artisanally, with the support of a computer. His works reflect on the relationships between the body, space, time and sound.
Tetsuo, Bound to Fail is the title of this video, which shows several actions performed by the artist himself. A device with 40 cameras arranged in a circle around him takes pictures simultaneously to record his actions, which are then reconstructed and shown one after the other. In this way, he gets a cinematographic circular travelling effect (the camera's movement in a 360-degree orbit which constantly shows the subject). A feeling of coming and going is achieved, and the staticity of the startling frozen images upends the traditional concept of cinema, where the camera records an action in real time as it unfolds. The viewer is immersed in a universe where the laws of physics seem to be altered and perspectives multiply.
Even though Prego records the action of repeatedly jumping, the montage of frozen images in the air creates the sense of levitation. Other images show the artist as a jet of water hurls through the air, creating fleeting liquid sculptures. In the course of the projection, several other jets are hurled which hit the author. The reference to the 1989 science fiction film Tetsuo: The Iron Man becomes clear in the title, which contains the name-Tetsuo-of a cult figure in Japanese fantasy cinema. [Silvia García Lusa]
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