Zilvinas Kempinas, Lithuanian-born and New York-based, is known for his use of unspooled video tape as a sculptural medium. 'AIRBORNE' levitates a room-sized loop of magnetic tape on air currents from fans.
Kempinas artwork could easily be denominated as a work of contrasts. Opting for a non-traditional and modern material, such as magnetic tape, he creates traditional and simplistic forms. When the artist realized how reactive magnetic tape was to the slightest wind, he decided to explore its kinetic power, transforming this mundane material in an artwork brimming power.
He plays with the effects of light and shadow through the monochrome color of the tape and its glossy surface. The fragile tape can be broken with minimal force, yet it is also capable of surprising durability and flexibility. Depending on the viewer’s position, the perception of the tape’s size can wildly differ, from thinking it to be extremely thick, to being almost impossible to see it at all. This subtle use of contrasts cause in the spectator a great deal of feelings and sensations, from experimenting the aurally of the pieces in relation to the physical space, to suggesting perplexity and confusion.
When questioned about his continual use of magnetic tape, Kempinas confessed that tape held a certain appeal to him because he was ”attracted to things that are capable of transcending their own banality and materiality to become something else, something more.” He has certainly achieved his aim through his visually striking artwork, using the power of human imagination to create something austere and modern through an out-of-date and almost defunct material.
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