Chris Meigh-Andrews specialises in screen works, installation, sculpture and projections.
A: Working across a variety of media, including installation, sculpture, moving image and writing, your oeuvre is expansive in terms of both materials and concepts. How do you think that working through many disciplines has helped you to progress and how do these various pieces speak to each across media?
CMA: I like to think the interdisciplinary approach to working that has evolved during my career as an artist has been valuable to the development of my practice and to my way of thinking and engaging with the context and concepts of art as a discipline. I see the media that I work with as interrelated, so engaging with and seeking out the connections between objects, processes and perceptions is fundamental to me.
A: You have been exhibiting screen-based video and sculptural moving image installations since the mid-1970s. What has been your favourite exhibition / showcase and why?
CMA: It is impossible for me to identify or pick one out of so many. I’d choose different ones for different reasons, and for specific or particular moments in my career so far. For example, I’d say there were some group exhibitions that were important because of the context – being identified with a particular approach was significant at one stage, being able to reach a wider audience at another, or having the opportunity to develop work for a specific site or venue. This connects to my answer to your previous question, about the interconnectivity of things, I think.
A: You have been involved in many projects including being Arts Council International Artist Fellow, Krakow, Poland, and completing a number of residencies internationally. How have these opportunities helped to further your career in terms of exposure and a chance to further your works in new environments?
CMA: Doing residencies is always very challenging. I enjoy the demands, discipline and the opportunities they provide, and I also find they require me to look further and deeper and to ask more of myself, both in terms of my skills and my ideas than with other modes of my practice. This is connected to the issue of exposure because every residency I’ve been involved with has offered opportunities for a different audience and environment. I also feel that skills and approaches developed whilst doing a residency are very transferable to other situations.
A: Often incorporating renewable energy systems, your pieces establish direct relationships with the natural and constructed environment. Why do you think that this subject matter is important in today’s world?
CMA: First of all I feel it is important to point out that my use of renewables is only indirectly connected to environmental issues. In my installation work the solar panels and/or wind turbines are there to represent interconnectivity – they are part of a chain of processes within the work to help visualise the transformation and fluid movement of energy from one form to another – from light to electricity, electrical energy to image and sound, et cetera. In turn, this kind of transformation and movement of matter is intended to make parallels with the flowing movement of thought and perception. So in terms of how or why I think this is of any importance relates to my belief in the value of seeing the connection of all things in the physical and the virtual worlds of computer imagery and human thought.
A: You have written extensively on the history and context of artists’ video. For example, A History of Video Art: the Development of Form and Function (Berg, Oxford and New York, 2006) provides an overview of the development of artists’ video since its inception. Why did you begin writing this text and how do you think that critical writing has given you a new perspective as an artist?
CMA: The writing began as PhD research at the Royal College of Art in the mid-late 1990s. The resulting dissertation was then developed as a book, first published in 2006 and then updated and extended for a second edition published in 2013 by Bloomsbury. My original purpose in engaging with this project was to try see the roots and development of my own art practice in a wider framework and it certainly helped to do that! It also provided me with a much greater appreciation of the complexity and scope of artists’ video within an international context.
A: What are your plans for this year?
CMA: This year I want to focus on developing a series of new sculptural installations. I am also involved as general editor of a large-scale book project for Bloomsbury and as curator of an outdoor exhibition of light based installations in the grounds of my studio near Colchester. I would like very much to do less writing and spend more time in my studio.
A History of Video Art (Bloomsbury, London, New Delhi, New York, Sydney) Available direct from Bloomsbury and on Amazon.
1. Chris Meigh-Andrews, Returning. Courtesy of the artist.