Abigail Child is a media artist and writer whose original
montage pushes the envelope of sound-image relations
with sensitivity, smarts and passion. In the words of LA
Weekly, she makes "brilliant exciting work...a vibrant
political film that's attentive to form."
Her work in the 1980s explores gender while focusing on
strategies for rewriting narrative, creating the cult classics
"Mayhem" and "Covert Action" while her 1990s
productions recuperate documentary to poetically
explore public space: B/SIDE (1996) and BELOW THE
NEW (1999). In the 21st century, her films DARK DARK
(2001), SURFACE NOISE (2000), and digital works CAKE +
STEAK (2004) and THE FUTURE IS BEHIND YOU (2005)
investigate the awkward drama of everyday, often utilizing
archival material to examine the past.
Her feature video documentary ON THE DOWNLOW
(2007), an intimate look at a little viewed underground
scene, premiered at Tribeca in 2007, and was broadcast
on LOGO. She is currently finishing another feature
documentary RIDING THE TIGER: Letters from Capitalist
China while continuing her series of "Foreign Films" which
combine text with image. The latest of these, (If I Can Sing
a Song About) LIGATURES (2009) premiered at the NY Film
Festival in October 2009 and was featured at Ann Arbor
and Oberhausen Festivals spring 2011. Child is currently
completing a feature A SHAPE OF ERROR: Imaginary Home
Movies from the life of Mary and Percy Shelley, filmed in
Rome last year while Child held a Rome Prize Fellowship.
Simultaneously, Child has turned her vertical montage to
installation, creating prismatic and interruptive multiple
screen narratives at galleries across the world. These
include The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 2006;
Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University 2006; Wake Forest
University Haynes Gallery 2009; the American Academy in
Rome 2010; Spazi Aperti at the Romanian Academy
Rome: June 2010; and at the Complesso Monumentale
di Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome, in The Road to
Contemporary Art, 26-30 May 2010.
Child has had many solo shows with mid-career
retrospectives: including Braga Portugal (09), EXIS in Seoul
Korea (08), Switzerland (08), Harvard Cinematheque,
(07), SF Yerba Buena Center in California (2000), in NYC
at Anthology Film Archives, in Boston at the Museum of
Fine Arts, and most recently at Reina Sofia, Madrid (June
2010) and Cinoteca, Sala Trevi, Rome (Nov.
2010). Her award-winning art is exhibited in important
group shows, including The American Century, 1950-2000 at
the Whitney Museum, Art at the End of the Century 1980 -
2000 at the Museum of Modern Art NY, and two
Whitney Biennials (1989 + 1997).
Her awards include a Rome Fellowship (2009-10); a
Radcliffe Institute Fellowship (05-06), a Ford Media Grant
(05), a Guggenheim (95-96) and Fulbright Fellowships (92-
93). Her films are in the permanent collection of The
Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Centre
Pompidou, Paris among others, and Harvard University
Cinematheque has created an Abigail Child Collection
dedicated to preserving and exhibiting her work.
Her films are featured in chapter-length articles in a
number of recent books, including: P. Adams Sitney's Eyes
Upside Down. Chap 13. "Abigail Child: Textual Reliance"
(Oxford 2008); Women's Experimental Cinema, ed. Robin
Baetz. Duke U. Press (2007); Scott MacDonald's Critical
Cinema: Volume 4 (UC 2005); Jeffrey Skoller, SHADOWS,
SPECTERS, SHARDS on Child's B/side. 2006 Minnesota;
Wanda Balzano, "Abigail Child's Mirror Worlds: Feminist
Reflections" in MILLENNIUM FILM JOURNAL, winter 2011.
An ABIGAIL CHILD MONOGRAPH of Critical Articles + Dvd
was published by MetisPress, Geneva Switzerland this
April 2011 and will be launched October 14th this fall.
Child is the author of 5 books of poetry (A Motive for
Mayhem, Scatter Matrix and Artificial Memory among them)
and a book of critical writings: THIS IS CALLED MOVING: A
Critical Poetics of Film from University of Alabama Press
(2005). Child has taught film/video production and history
at various schools and is currently Senior Faculty at SMFA,
Boston. Her home is in NYC.