Andrew Kaufman | 9.2 – 9.20.2008

Andrew Kaufman
Hold On/ Hold Up
Video with no Sound
Running Time – 8:34 minutes
9.2 – 9.6.2008

Hold On/ Hold Up is a endurance video performance documenting myself struggling to hold onto a bar and hold a bar over my head for as long as possible. I understand this struggle as an allegory of the human condition, in which the changing contexts of the bar serves only as extreme ideological opposites bereft of empathy for the undertaking.

Andrew Kaufman
End Trajectory (Trauma Map)
Video with Sound
Running Time – 2:54 minutes
9.8 – 9.13.2008
see video

This video maps the destruction of five drinking glasses half filled with water. The jarring sound of the rupturing glasses is meant to create a sense of unease in an often-contemplative space. The conceptual beginning of this series of investigations was the events of September 11, 2002. I have shown this video with re-assembled drinking glasses on small pedestals.

Andrew Kaufman
Conquest of the Air
Video with Sound
Running Time – 15:00 minutes
9.15 – 9.20.2008
see video

Conquest of the Air is a short video performance documenting a collaborative effort to create a simple paper airplane. The video shows a close up view of a pair of hands trying to navigate a set of simple decisions to produce a paper airplane. The visual awkwardness that sometimes ensues is because one hand is mine and one hand is from a collaborator. Concepts such as invisibility, perception, collaboration, transformation and fun were the impetus for the performance.

Hold On/ Hold Up … 9.2 – 9.6.2008
End Trajectory (Trauma Map) … 9.8 – 9.13.2008
Conquest of the Air … 9.15 – 9.20.2008

Atrium Gallery – Western Michigan University

My artwork is a direct reflection of my own observations and experiences within society. Collecting these, I translate them into contemplative visual and experiential art. Since my work is driven by experience and idea, I am able to free myself from specific media concerns enabling the utilization of any medium that successfully develops my response. The multiplicity of forms I have created; which include painting, video, sculpture, and installation, are presented in such a way as to encourage the viewer to engage with them as an experience of space and form on a psychological, illusory and/or physical level.

Andrew Kaufman received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 2002 from the University of South Florida in a studio art program that emphasized the coupling of concept and form. Kaufman considers himself a convergent artist, letting idea dictate medium, which has led to a multiplicity of mediums that include video, sound, sculpture, painting and digital print. He has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, and recently was the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP grant for visual art. Andrew Kaufman is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting at Grinnell College in Iowa.

Andrew Kaufman – Grinnell Iowa

12 thoughts on “Andrew Kaufman | 9.2 – 9.20.2008

  1. Amber September 4, 2008 / 10:49 am

    In the video Hold On/Hold Up Andrew Kaufman interpreted so much about the observation and experiences that he has had within society with out saying anything. I found it interesting that even though this video is his interpretation I think it is a visual of an experience that just about every in society can relate to. In life we encounter situations that we try to “hold on to” and achieve while we “keep it above our head” yet we struggle or fail. I enjoyed how the viewer can feel the agony and pain Andrew is going trough without any sound as we watch his endurance getting weaker and he “fails”. In life, many people try not to talk about situations they are going through within society, yet sometimes non-verbal communication says a lot more than words can say. Over all I think the video was executed very well, the only thing that would have made the transition between Hold On and Hold up go smoother would have been if the bar was exactly in the same position during the transition.

  2. Amber September 16, 2008 / 11:33 am

    As I watched the video Conquest of the Air By Andrew Kaufman I was interested and a little confused. The sound works as it contrast the visual aspects of the video but I still feel like some thing is missing. Visually I like that every time he had a new collaborator the environment changed as well. However, I thought his hand should have stayed on either the left or right, instead of switching. After reading his artist statement I was still puzzled. Although I liked the awkwardness of two separate people creating one paper airplane together, I am not sure where the connection between paper airplanes and “Concepts such as invisibility, perception, collaboration, transformation and fun ” connected. Yes this video shows all that, but so would many other things. I can’t help but think that maybe this video he created has a connection to his previous video Trauma Map and 9/11. Anyone have any other suggestions?

  3. Adrienne Marks September 18, 2008 / 3:25 pm

    These videos are a little deceptive, they tricked me into watching them. Their simplicity draws the viewer in to see if there is something there and then the deeper meaning sort of unfolds for the viewer. Like the Hold On/ Hold Up video, at first glance it’s one of the most boring sights, but as it progresses it I found myself flinching as his arms showed more and more strain. It is the simpleness of the backgrounds and subject matter force the viewer to become involved.

  4. Kevin G September 18, 2008 / 3:25 pm

    The use of paper which contains information about airplanes has me wondering if there is a deeper meaning of the paper that is used. I am not sure if the arms placed as they are is the best method for the veiwer. Strangers doing this with other strangers would be great to see live

  5. Nick September 18, 2008 / 3:29 pm

    I’m torn between the thoughts of wether this video is a symbol/metaphor for something or if it is the process it self that is making the statement. If Kaufman’s work is about his experiences with society then the video is simply the conduit through which the experience is communicated and it is the act itself that holds significance. However, if it is the idea that chooses the medium then the fact that it is a video holds significance. Kaufman states that his work is meant to have the viewer engage the work however possible, which applies to both sides of my thinking … I’m lost in my own analysis.

  6. brooke September 18, 2008 / 3:29 pm

    once i realized that this was two separate people’s hands, i thought this to be very playful and fun. i think that the sound adds comedy, the fact that the hands are the only thing visible of the people in it adds the invisibility, and the perception leads you at first to think that it is only one person. it may have some implications towards 9/11, but overall i think that this was simply a fun moment of collaboration caught on film.

  7. Brandon September 18, 2008 / 3:34 pm

    The first thing I noticed in this video (Conquest) was the awkwardness of the hands. As a viewer you want them to accomplish the goal of constructing the airplane faster and more efficiently. After that comes the sound, it almost adds a comical feel to the video. Because a real airplane is a lot more tangible than something making paper, so it seems very unreal to hear that kind of sound. I can imagine some little kid flying around with the paper airplane making whooshing noises.

    I can see where his concepts are drawn to into the video.. The collaboration between old and young, male and female, etc. incorporeal hands working together to build something. I wish there was more substance to the video though, it seems almost too “on purpose”. There aren’t many elements to it, and they are all direct and very deliberate, repeating ad-nauseam.

    Other than that, I would agree with the video’s intent, it definitely makes the viewer stop and think.

  8. anne September 18, 2008 / 3:37 pm

    I think Kaufman created a very interesting piece of art: First, when I watched it, I didn’t realize immediately that these are hands of two persons. You have to sharpen your look, Kaufman hides the obvious and this can only be done like this through the video camera. This medium decides what you shall see and it has control over our perception.
    This is a good idea about the use of the camera, even though he uses this medium in a very simple way just holding in one direction.
    The title ‘Conquest of the Air’ is kind of ironic, because the steps to create this paper- airplane and its outlook are more for a children- game. Just the contrasting sound in the background awakes the impression of a conquest of the air.

  9. Morgana November 11, 2008 / 6:19 pm

    Walking down the hall and then suddenly hearing a glass break, the sound really reverberates through the halls and sort of just jarred me out of whatever thoughts that I was contemplating at the time. I feel like the video takes a background the the sound in this one, because the sound is what really gets the viewers attention and brings that attention to the video.

  10. Jessie December 2, 2008 / 3:45 pm

    The video End Trajectory is interesting. The shattering glass and the sound that went with it really get you to jump the first few times you passed or watched the video. I think this is a good image and sound to express the shock one might have felt over 9/11.
    In Conquest of the Air I didn’t get that there where two different hands trying to work together to make a paper plane at first. It had to be awkward working with someone else’s hand. I like the sound that goes with this video too, it fits very well.

  11. Brandon Cady December 11, 2008 / 12:02 am

    I definitely did not realize the hands were different until it was mentioned to me, it definitely takes on a new light once you realize that. Then the project seems to be alot more about teamwork and struggling past one persons individual ideas and conceptions to come up with something that works for the whole. I found the sound for it a little distracting, even though it was “airplane” related.

  12. zac December 13, 2008 / 5:58 pm

    When Kaufman explains that he showed End Trajectory with reassembled drinking glasses of pedestals and connection to September 11, I began to wonder why the significance of only 5 glasses were broken. World Trade Center 7 instantly popped in my head. Was he unveiling the truth about building 7? Are the reassembled glasses shown to be the presence of a “rebuilt” memorial to the broken glasses in the video? I also am intrigued of the use of the half full glasses. I wonder what the idea was behind that…

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