All electronic information media have short life. The museums and collections all over the world face this problem. The total loss of digital data is part of a horror scenario. This problem has been more and more clearly recognized, since in the meantime the video record becomes the all too often used artistic means of expression.
The German Federal Cultural Foundation’s initiative, “40 Years of Video Art in Germany – Digital Heritage” has set the objective to save, protect and transmit the cultural heritage of video art that has become one of the most fascinating forms of art of the twentieth century. Such comprehensive project is implemented for the first time in Germany involving five museums in Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf, Bremen, Munich and Leipzig.
For two years original records have been collected, copies have been compared and their artistic merits have been estimated in order to record all formats in the best possible digital method. An option has been found and for the first time electronic information has been restored from extremely valuable historical video tapes. Part of the outcomes of this research is being presented with the itinerant exhibition “40 Years of Video Art in Germany” offering the opportunity to make ourselves familiar with the history of this form of creative work.
A special hanging-committee has selected 59 works, which have not only a historical value, but are also of present interest. They have been created in the period between 1963 and 2005. Among the authors we see the names of both legendary artists of the sixties and of emblematic figures of the following decades, as well as the newest reinforcements on the German artistic stage. Against the background stand out artists like Jan Dibets, Otto Pignet, Joseph Beuys, Rebecca Horn, Marcel Odenbach, Rosemary Troeckel, Christian Jankowski, etc.