Program Public Art Artist in Residence Information

Dara Birnbaum

Damnation of Faust (1984)

The wall installation Damnation of Faust from the New York media artist in the central wing (foyer, 1st floor) analyses and alienates everyday pictures and by considering the Faust myth, approaches our concepts of lost innocence. Dara Birnbaum deals consistently with the forms of expression and modi operandi of mass media and with the representation of women in this sector.
Installation Birnbaum
In the middle is an enlarged still photograph cut to the shape of a fan; two monitors at the sides show video loops. The installation Damnation of Faust should be viewed in the context of a video film trilogy of the same name by Dara Birnbaum and came into being with Evocation (1983), the first video of this series. With the videos Will-o'-the-Wisp (1987) and Charming Landscape (1987) and other installations, the artist continued her narrative-visual discussion of the Faust theme.
The video film Evocation, clips from which are shown on one of the monitors and from which the still was also taken, shows children in a playground in Manhattan. The central motif of the total installation - the fan - already appears here. With this, the artist refers to a specific form of Japanese printing graphics (ukiyo-e), in which this female accessory plays an important role.
The video on the second monitor focuses on the face of an adult woman, in which constantly changing emotional states and thoughts appear to be reflected. In this confrontation Dara Birnbaum conjures up the forgotten childlike innocence which always implies the unavoidable awakening.

The installation was originally created for the Stedelijk Musem in Amsterdam as part of the exhibition “The Luminous Image” (1984).
Dara Birnbaum
Damnation of Faust (1984)
Mixed Media Installation
Two channel colour video (loop approx. 3.19 seconds), quadraphonic sound, black and white photographic enlargement, painted wall
Edition 1/2
Informationen about the artist
The work of art was purchased by the Lower Austria provincial government and made available to Danube University Krems.
public art lower austria
Damnation of Faust
Damnation of Faust