Sean Snyder is a contemporary American artist living and working in Berlin, Kiev and Tokyo. Acclaimed for his unique ‘research-based’ art, Snyder works predominantly in film and video to explore the role of images in the global circulation of (dis)information.
This fascination has repeatedly led him to engage with the politics of images produced during the Cold War. Using montages and cut ups of content drawn from official news channels to clandestine websites, Snyder challenges our understanding of what we see by questioning the lines between truth and propaganda, transparency and manipulation.
Some of Snyder’s recent Cold War themed artworks have included Exhibition (2008) which reappropriates footage from a 1965 Soviet documentary about an art exhibition in eastern Ukraine; Two Oblique Representations of a Given Place (Pyongyang) (2001–4) which juxtaposes screens showing official footage celebrating the technological advances of Pyongyang with a tourist-filmed video that gives an altogether more eerie view of the North Korean capital; Afghanistan, circa 1985 (2008–9) which captures the strange banality of war using footage shot by soldiers during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan; and Dallas Southfork in Hermes Land, Slobozia, Romania (2001) which recounts the bizarre role of the American TV series Dallas in bringing down the USSR.
Snyder’s work is informative, compelling and unsettling, as we are confronted by our susceptibility to the wealth of images we are exposed to on a daily basis.
For a more in-depth account of Sean Snyder’s work, read Stranger than Fiction on Frieze.
Images: Sean Snyder. Top – Exhibition, 2008 (video still); Bottom – Dallas Southfork in Hermes Land, Slobozia, Romania, 2001 (video still). Courtesy of the artist; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Lisson Gallery, London; and Galerie Neu, Berlin.