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About Emma Hart

Born: 1974, London, UK

Lives and works in London


2002–2004: MA Fine Art Slade School of Fine Art, London
1997–2000: BA (Hons) Photography Croydon College of Art, London

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Emma Hart

Practice: video, photography, performance

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 Simple games, rudimentary systems, experimental play: Emma Hart's videos, photos, performances and installations detail uncomplicated, though idiosyncratic, pastimes such as a game of dice in the sea's waves; filming moths attracted to the light of her camera; photographic documentation of holes both real, and fabricated through the witty recording of a simple black space.

A child-like sense of enthusiasm permeates much of Hart's work: an early video piece, for example, takes a favourite childhood discovery - the epidermal residue left on sticking tape when applied to, then removed from the skin - and employs it as an ingenious vehicle for a delicate animation mapping the artist's entire body.

A remote controlled toy, with camera attached, accompanies the artist on a stroll through suburbia, while 'Rushes' (2009) sees Hart scampering back and forth in front of a video camera to illustrate a simple pun.

Typical, too, of the unfettered curiosity of the very young, seemingly innocuous activities are occasionally accompanied by a pinch of perversity, as in 'Car Crash Lightboxes', which document interviewees' positioning of objects to describe an accident, or the video series 'Chasing Animals', which sees the artist stalking the likes of horses, rabbits or geese until they scatter.

Yet for all the apparent naïvety of Hart's interventions, they are governed by a highly specific impulse.

In a bid "to make videos that act on the world, not describe it", the artist's camera is rarely employed as an impassive tool, but instead becomes complicit in, or instrumental to her actions.

In this way, its objective eye doubles as an unseen adjudicator in Dice (2009). By making the camera the subject of a pencil sketch in Drawing Attention (2005), Hart cleverly involves it in a relationship of intense mutual scrutiny, a simultaneous dual-portrait. And it is likewise instrumental to the 'Chasing Animals' game, not only as documenter but protagonist; creeping and plunging along with the artist, failing to entrap even while capturing a record of the attempt.

Added Feb 2011

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