As the 2004 fall season opener, this solo exhibition presented two new multi-media film and video installations entitled Crusade and Manifest Destiny by British artist Keith Piper. As one of the most significant artists of the British Black Arts movement in the United Kingdom during the 1980s, Piper is noted as having produced some of the most distinctive and challenging work in the field of new media. Made specifically for the Contemporary, Piper’s new work focuses on St. Louis as the subject of his aesthetic and historic investigations using one of the latest developments in HDTV technology combined with the tradition of landscape painting. During two site-residencies in St. Louis, Piper conducted research at St. Louis’s historic institutions to compile historic text and images with contemporary footage he filmed with an HDTV camera and technician. Piper weaves a compelling narrative that explores themes of racism through metaphor as found in notions of the east, west, north, and southern landscape that St. Louis geographically, political, and historically occupies. His high-tech journey begins in 11th Century Europe and concludes along the Mississippi River in the present.
Curated by Shannon Fitzgerald, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.