Reykjavík, b.1940

Steina Vasulka

Steina Vasulka is a pioneering video artist who has been producing work since the 1960s. She moved from Reykjavík to Prague in 1959 to study the violin and there met her husband, the filmmaker Woody Vasulka. In 1965 they relocated to New York where Steina gradually came to focus on electronic media and video art.

With Woody, she began showing video art, and in 1971 they founded The Kitchen, which has been a powerful force in shaping a cultural landscape in the US. It was among the very first American institutions to embrace the emerging fields of video, performance, and cross-disciplinary explorations. An internationally acclaimed institution, the Kitchen is one of New York’s oldest and most active nonprofit art centers, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who...

learn more about this artist

Biography

Steina Vasulka is a pioneering video artist who has been producing work since the 1960s. She moved from Reykjavík to Prague in 1959 to study the violin and there met her husband, the filmmaker Woody Vasulka. In 1965 they relocated to New York where Steina gradually came to focus on electronic media and video art.

With Woody, she began showing video art, and in 1971 they founded The Kitchen, which has been a powerful force in shaping a cultural landscape in the US. It was among the very first American institutions to embrace the emerging fields of video, performance, and cross-disciplinary explorations. An internationally acclaimed institution, the Kitchen is one of New York’s oldest and most active nonprofit art centers, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence.

Together they also worked to develop the Center for Media Studies at the State University of New York in Buffalo. Although Steina and Woody have often collaborated in their art, Steina’s own approach has resulted in an extensive body of work, which includes both video art and performances. She often uses the violin to create not only sound but also images by manipulating the signal through electronic means. Steina’s work has a strong lyrical quality, which is perhaps most clearly expressed in her series of multi-screen video installations using images of landscapes in Iceland and New Mexico, where she and Woody settled in 1980. She has explored the entire range of possibilities in video art and electronic media, from documentaries to purely machinegenerated art.

Her work has been exhibited at major museums and festivals around the world, including the Whitney Museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Berlin Film Festival, and the National Gallery of Art in Reykjavík. Steina became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1976, and in 1997 she represented Iceland at the Biennale di Venezia.

In 2014, the Vasulka Chamber, a center of electronic and digital art in Iceland, was established at the National Gallery of Iceland. The Vasulka Chamber is a collaboration with Steina and Woody Vasulka, and includes a part of the Vasulkas’ archive.

Artworks

Warp, 2000

RELATED CATEGORIES

Art and Music / Digital Video / Electronic Media / Iceland / Lyrical Expression / New York / Performance / The Kitchen / Video / Video Installation

CURRICULUM VITAE

Education

  • 1964

    Joined the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra

  • 1963

    Received a scholarship from the Czechoslovak Ministry of Culture to attend the State Music Conservatory in Prague, Czechoslovakia (1959-1963)

  • 1957

    Studied violin and music theory in Reykjavík, Iceland (1953-1957)

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Art of Memory, Pori Museum, Pori, Finland

  • 2017

    BERG Contemporary, Reykjavík, Iceland  

  • VIDEO REWIND: A look back from early video works from the 1970s and 1980s, CosmoCaixa, Barcelona (in collaboration with LOOP Barcelona), Spain

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    20/20, Peter Blum Gallery, New York, NY  

  • update_7. Mémoires Vives, Zebrastraat, Ghent and BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium

  • Oh, So Quiet - Music as we look at it: Art and Cinema, Gerðarsafn - Kopavogur Art Museum, Kópavogur, Iceland  

Load a CV

Curriculum Vitae

The artist CV shows the details after 2000s.
To access the artist’s full CV, please click the download button at the end.

Education

  • 1964

    Joined the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra

  • 1963

    Received a scholarship from the Czechoslovak Ministry of Culture to attend the State Music Conservatory in Prague, Czechoslovakia (1959-1963)

  • 1957

    Studied violin and music theory in Reykjavík, Iceland (1953-1957)

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Art of Memory, Pori Museum, Pori, Finland

  • 2017

    BERG Contemporary, Reykjavík, Iceland  

  • VIDEO REWIND: A look back from early video works from the 1970s and 1980s, CosmoCaixa, Barcelona (in collaboration with LOOP Barcelona), Spain

  • 2016

    Machine Vision, Raven Row, London, England   

  • Memory Mirror (in collaboration with SLIDERS_lab), Galeries Lafayette, Toulouse, France

  • Vasulka’s Variations (in collaboration with SLIDERS_lab), Le Lait Art Centre, Albi, France

  • Kitchen in Brno, The Vasulka, Czech Republic

  • IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SIGNAL, Atelier Nord, Oslo, Norway  

  • Kuryokhin Center of Modern Art, St. Petersburg, Russia

  • 2015

    Theater at El Museo Cultural, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2014

    Machine Vision (October dedication and opening of the Vasulka Chamber), National Gallery of Iceland - Vasulka Chamber, Reykjavík, Iceland

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    20/20, Peter Blum Gallery, New York, NY  

  • update_7. Mémoires Vives, Zebrastraat, Ghent and BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium

  • Oh, So Quiet - Music as we look at it: Art and Cinema, Gerðarsafn - Kopavogur Art Museum, Kópavogur, Iceland  

  • Phonemes – Exhibiting Music, Hafnarborg - Centre of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland  

  • Violin Power I, National Gallery of Iceland - Vasulka Chamber, Reykjavík, Iceland

  • 2018

    Programmed: Rules, Codes and Choreographies in Art,  1965-2018, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

  • Art in Motion. 100 Masterpieces with and through Media. An Operative Canon, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany

  • The Current Museum of Art, New York, NY  

  • Media Art Festival, Rome, Italy  

  • Acts of Seeing and Hearing, Carroll Gallery, Huntington, WV

  • Oh, So Quiet - Music as we look at it: Art and Cinema,Verksmiðjan, Hjalteyri, Iceland  

  • Pergament, National Gallery of Iceland - Vasulka Chamber, Reykjavík, Iceland

  • 2017

    Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959–1989, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

  • Orka, National Gallery of Iceland - Vasulka Chamber, Reykjavík, Iceland

  • Pyroglyphs, National Gallery of Iceland - Vasulka Chamber, Reykjavík, Iceland

  • 2016

    Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966), Whitechapel Gallery, London, England

  • 2015

    Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Czech Republic

  • Nordisk Panorama, Malmö, Sweden

  • NMMOMENTUM 8 - 8th Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, Machine Vision, The Paseo Taos Outdoor Art Festival, Taos, Moss, Norway  

  • Women step Forward - portraits of 30 women of Icelandic Art, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland  

  • Noisefields and Cantaloup, National Gallery of Iceland - Vasulka Chamber, Reykjavík, Iceland  

  • 2014

    Oslo Screen Festival, Oslo, Norway

  • 2013

    WRO Biennale, Wroclaw, Poland

  • 2012

    MoMA Media Lounge, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

  • 2011

    Modern Women: Single Channel, MoMA PS1, New York, NY

Film Screening

  • 2014

    Pergament I and II, digital video, color, sound, 12:31 min.

  • 2005

    Pyrospheres (with Tom Joyce), Video Hi 8, color, sound, 5:55 min.

  • 2004

    Rome Performance, digital video, color, sound, 14:40 min.

  • Twisted Water, Video Hi 8, color, sound, 4:30 min.

  • 2002

    Music in the Afternoon (with Tony Conrad), digital video, color, sound, 4:15 min.

  • 2000

    Trevor (with Trevor Wishart), digital video, color, sound, 11 min.

  • Lava  Moss, digital video, color, sound, 13 min.

Collections

  • Centre Georges Pompidou

  • LUX, London

  • Moravian Gallery

  • The Current Museum of Art

  • The Daniel Langlois Foundation Collection

  • The Museum of Modern Art, New York

  • The National Gallery of Iceland

  • The Reykjavík Art Museum

  • The Roswell Museum and Art Center

  • The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art