Donigan Cumming (1999-03-05)

Donigan Cumming
Practice: Photography and Video
Date of Lecture: 1999-03-05


Donigan Cumming uses video, photography, and multi-media installation to challenge the taboos of representation. His treatment of society’s abject heroes began with a three-part cycle of photographs, Reality and Motive in Documentary Photography (1986). Cumming has continued to explore this fictional community in the medium of video. Pretty Ribbons (1993), a startling photographic portrait of an elderly woman, Nettie Harris, and A Prayer for Nettie (1995), an elegy for the departed Nettie, are both pivotal works in the cycle.

Cumming_Donigan_w01Pretty Ribbons, April 27, 1991 from the series: Pretty Ribbons © Donigan Cumming

Cumming’s videos have been screened at The Rotterdam International Film Festival (from 1998 and annually onwards), the Museum of Modern Art,, New York, the New York Video Festival and the Whitney Museum, New York. The FCMM in Montreal has been screening his work since 1996, the year he won the Telefilm Canada Video Prize for Canadian Discoveries. Retrospective treatments of Cumming’s work have recently been held at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California (2002) and the Visions du Réel festival at Nyon, Switzerland (2002). Cumming has also been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Gimlet Eye is Cumming’s most recent book. Designed by the artist, it is a survey of his videos, photography, and sound installations.

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