Event: The Blanton Museum of Art is exhibiting, for the first time since its acquisition, the film installation “Swimmer” by Bill Lundberg, artist and professor at The University of Texas at Austin. The piece was created in 1975 and is one of the earliest examples of conceptual film work. The Blanton Museum’s presentation offers viewers a rare opportunity to experience this important work by a forefather of film and video installation. “Swimmer” creates the illusion of a water-based environment within the museum. The sounds of splashing water fill the darkened gallery and the image of a man treading water is cast onto the floor. The horizontal projection brings the illusion of film into the realm of reality.
When: The installation is on view now until Dec. 6
Where: The Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Background: Lundberg created this seminal work while living in London in the early 1970s, filming it from scaffolding built over a residential pool. It was first exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in a 1975 exhibition.
Leading London-based art critic and curator Guy Brett was quoted on a promotional flyer for Lundberg’s recent talk at Central St. Martin’s College of Art in London as saying, “Projected onto the floor in the vicinity of wall-hung paintings in a museum, ‘Swimmer’ creates, with great wit and economy of means, a confrontation between two spaces, art gallery and swimming pool; two media, water and film; and two orientations, the vertical (the viewer) and the horizontal (the swimmer). So elemental are these confrontations that one cannot easily decide if the swimmer in his rectangle of water is a metaphor for freedom or entrapment.”
A painter, Lundberg is the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Centennial Professor in Art and Art History and is the founder of the university’s Transmedia program. Lundberg has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Whitney Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among other highly recognized museums and galleries.