Those wondering what’s next after the Whitney Biennial can wonder no more—the museum’s recently released schedule of upcoming exhibitions reveals that many film and video projects will be on offer. A standout among them is German-American artist Oskar Fischinger’s multi-screen projection Raumlichtkunst (Space Light Art), first shown in Germany in 1926.
German-born Fischinger took a circuitous path to becoming an abstract animator and visual musician. He started off as a would-be violinist, then tried his hand at architecture, and finally decided to play around with the new medium of film after meeting experimental director Walter Ruttmann. From there, he came up with a series of short films and paintings fusing light and art, such as Motion Painting No.1, shown in 1947. In this seminal work, he paired Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No.3” with a series of abstract images, creating what could be described as an early “music video.” His experience as a musician was clearly helpful as he experimented with light, art, and sound in various combinations.
The Whitney’s exposition hosts a newly remastered version of Raumlichtkunst (Space Light Art), one of the first multimedia projections ever made. Fischinger’s marriage of light and art will be a sensory bombardment for viewers, a precursor to the many multimedia pieces in the current Biennial.