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conrad ventur

Conrad Ventur: This Is My Life (Shirley Bassey)

Exhibition:
November 19 – December 20, 2009

Forever & Today, Inc. original commission featured in Off-Site Exhibitions:

Greater New York
With catalogue by MoMA PS1
MoMA PS1, Long Island City
May 23 – October 18, 2010

III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art
Moscow, Russia
July 11 – August 10, 2012


Forever & Today, Inc. presents This Is My Life (Shirley Bassey), 2009, a newly commissioned multi-channel video installation by American artist Conrad Ventur. Ventur brings together concepts of biography, celebrity, and captured historical performances within the realm of expanded cinema in This Is My Life (Shirley Bassey), using selections from a lifetime of performances by legendary Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey's unforgettable 1968 song "This Is My Life."

In this new work, Ventur selected videos from the Internet site YouTube of Bassey singing "This Is My Life" during various stages of her career. The videos are then simultaneously filtered through slowly spinning crystal prisms suspended in close proximity to the lenses of projectors, creating a kaleidoscopic effect casting infinite images of the songstress. An ethereal and haunting experience ensues, as the singer appears at different ages and stages of her career with a chorus of Basseys singing along in rhythm and time.

"This Is My Life," an autobiographical song, became one of Bassey's signature hits among a discography that boasts "Diamonds Are Forever," "Goldfinger," and "Moonraker" from the James Bond 007 films that made her beloved by audiences worldwide. Ventur's work highlights Bassey's larger-than-life persona coupled with her natural elegance, sex appeal, and playful wit as an entertainer at ease with the audience in a dazzling array of theatrical gowns. The song gains even more resonance since Bassey herself experienced rags-to-riches success when she was discovered as a teenager, then a single mother working in an economically depressed Welsh town.

Similar to Ventur's recent works featuring female celebrities from Marlene Dietrich to Dolly Parton, This Is My Life (Shirley Bassey) captures the innate ability of a performer to make private moments within public forums. Using technology to create complex environments that meld past and present with art and life, Ventur reiterates the continuing impact of these icons. From their initial live performances, to their redistribution to untold audiences online, Ventur explores how these talents trace a trajectory both in song and life of overcoming adversity to realize transformative potential.

Conrad Ventur (b. 1977, Seattle, WA) currently lives and works in New York. He received his MFA in Art Practice, with Distinction, from Goldsmiths College, London in 2008 and has recently exhibited at: The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA(2009); P.P.O.W, New York (2009); Rokeby, London, UK (2009); 1/9 Unosunove Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy (2009); Architecture Annual, Bucharest, Romania (2008); Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2008); Louis Blouin Institute, London, UK (2008); Invisible-Exports, New York (2008); Ludlow 38, Kunstverein Munchen Goethe Institute, New York (2008); Somerset House, London, UK (2008); and Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden (2008), among other international solo and group presentations. In 2004, Ventur launched the contemporary art magazine USELESS and has since lectured on independent publishing at the Hayward Gallery, London and Art Basel, Switzerland.

Conrad Ventur: This Is My Life (Shirley Bassey) is curated by Ingrid Chu and Savannah Gorton.