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German media artist who is considered a pioneer of German video art.
Vom Bruch studied conceptual art at the California Institute of the Arts with John Baldessari from 1975 to 1976, and philosophy at the University of Cologne from 1976 to 1980.
Vom Bruch belongs to a generation of artists who became known in the 1970s with their video works without exploring other artistic genres first. His close friendship with Ulrike Rosenbach and Marcel Odenbach helped to develop a Â«video scene,Â» in Cologne that was exemplary for Germany, documented in their ATV-Studio.
His video works of the 1980s engage in a provocative analysis of identity in relation to Western cultural mythology and history. This often ironic discourse is presented as a direct confrontation between the self and the theater of collective memory, which vom Bruch posits as an archive of media images â€” television advertising, Hollywood cinema, World War II archival films. Subjectivity is located in a violent confluence of the spectacles of war, technology, and capital. Aggressively deconstructing representations of the military and mass media apparatuses, vom Bruch's videotapes take the form of propulsive, nonverbal collages. Relentless in their obsession and repetition, his signature visual systems exploit both the one-on-one directness of video and its relation to the mass media apparatus. In an exacting fusion of structure and content, his formal strategy is to use rapid-fire video switching to alternate repetitively between two visual sources â€” one appropriated, one a "live" self-image â€” so that they are seen simultaneously as composite texts. Rhythmically inserting flash-frames of his face into tightly edited, stutter- step fragments of archival films, cinema or advertising, he constructs associative, metaphorical meaning. Reductive, hypnotic soundtracks heighten the tension as self-portraits interrupt repeated images of war and mass media technologies.
Vom Bruch's early works are compelling inquiries into postwar German identity. The mythic past collides with the media present as the artist is seen in collusion with World War II bomber pilots, wartime destruction, and TV advertising. Collapsing the personal and the historical, conflating subjectivity and history, desire and the cinematic apparatus, or the body and communications technologies, vom Bruch's potent analytical systems expand on the theories of Paul Virilio.
From 1992 to 1998 he taught media art at the University of Arts in Karlsruhe (Hochschule fÃ¼r Gestaltung). Since 1999 he is a professor for media art at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich. In 2000 he was a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York.
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