Skip to main content
Lux OnlineHomeThemesArtistsWorkEducationEducationToursHelpSearch
Artists Artist's home pageArtists essay index page
Clive GillmanClick here to Print this Page
David Critchley
Further works attempted to extend the frame of the video monitor by adding further layers, augmenting the earlier approach by replaying videotapes simultaneously across a number of screens and extending the space of the camera frame to record all of these screens.

This approach culminated in the piece Trialogue (1977) in which a carefully choreographed performance by Critchley is constructed and delivered in order to transmit a statement about the nature of the process he is depicting. In his own words this represented a marked progression, "with Trialogue I was beginning to want to work in a more controlled way, trying to use video across multiple monitors and multiple layers of recording to explore ideas that went beyond looking at the nature of the medium. The piece layers three parts of a single narrative across three monitors contained within a single tape. I think it was the first time I had used words in a narrative sense in a video tape - as distinct from words as numbers or as incidental to an action. There was also an element of accepting and following the logic of the necessity of the performance action, rather than fitting the action to the medium. It was not 'entertainment', - more it was the analysis of a proposition. However, by default perhaps, in this piece a poetic element emerges, especially in the first layer, then to a lesser extent in the second, and finally is lost with the addition of the third layer that completes the statement and removes any space for interpretation or creative contribution from a viewer."

Much of this work was produced from within a creative milieu of individuals exploring video and performance within their own practice while also trying to construct the mechanisms that might support the production and exhibition of this work. Critchley found himself at the heart of the 2B studio group, operating out of Butlers Wharf in the heart of pre-News International Wapping, running a space with the Isle of Man ex-pats Alison Winckle, Martin Hearne, Mick Duckworth and Kevin Atherton. Out of this space ran a wide variety of events and exhibitions, with cross-overs between film, video and performance art being fed by an analytical approach to the medium that allowed a dialogue across these forms. As Michael O'Pray commented in 1988, "In many ways, the early British video movement was akin to the avant-garde film sector based at the London Film-makers' Co-operative where formalist, or structuralist, aesthetics predominated; self-reflexivity in the medium was central, as was its oppositional stance". At this time Critchley was moving within a core network which linked the Air Gallery, ACME, London Film-makers Co-op and 2B. It was out of this network that the concept for a single organisation, clustered around the artist David Hall, and dedicated to supporting artists working with video began to grow. Although many people were involved with the birth of this organisation - christened London Video Arts (LVA) in 1976 - it was Critchley who established a key role within the early days after becoming its professional manager between 1981 and 1986.

Still from Trialogue by David Critchley, 1977
Go to top of                             page