Pola Weiss, Mexican precursor of video art
Posted on 30 January, 2018
Adriana Zapett Tapia
She created an unmistakable autobiographic and intrspective style, but in constrast to this ceaseless exploration of her own inner life, in her video production she was also interested in issues relating to feminism, society, politics and ecology.
She videoed life in a different way, television became her own being; her soul and her voice allowed her to intensify the perception of the corporeal. As she once stated: “the day came, I don’t know exactly which, but it came at me staggeringly, a bit desperate at not being contained on time. It penetrated through my eyes. Without anybody showing me how to do it, my hands started typing electronic bottons, moving zooms, focusing lenses and cameras, touching colors, storing many images on tape, polarizing women and men”. She went on like this till the end, polarizing her world and facing difficulties to obtain resources to produce, travel and develop nomadic concepts.
Pola Weiss, theoretician of alternative television in Mexico, as Alberto Roblest described her, became a visual researcher in 1977. Two years earlier, she was the first to graduate with a video at the Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
She went to Europe and got involved with this artistic tendency that was developping in several countries. In 1987 she was invited to the Montpellier Festival, in France, where she presented a retrospective of her work. There she was named Latin America’s most important video artist.
Throughout her professional life as teacher, promoter and video artist, she endured a lack of appreciation from the Mexican cultural milieu towards this new art. The greates recognition of her work came from abroad. Today this view has changed and this art form continues to develop in our country in the work of renowned video artists.
Some of her notabe works are Flor cósmica (1977), Cuetzalan y yo (1979), Exoego (1981), El eclipse (1982), Inertia (1989), among others.
In Mi corazón (1986), one of her most interesting works, the artist merges the immense range of emotions she experiences, derived from the impossiblity of becoming a mother, her father’s illness and the earthquake that took place in Mexico on September 19, 1985. She died in 1990.
IX Encuentro Internacional, I Nacional de Video Arte , México, Museo Carrillo Gil, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, Colegio Nacional de Comunicación CAYC, December, 1977.
Hernández Miranda, Dante , Pola Weiss: pionera del videoarte en México, Mexico, Comunidad Morelos, 2000.
Torres Ramos, Edna, El videoarte en México. El caso de Pola Weiss, tesina, licenciatura en Ciencias de la Comunicación, Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, UNAM, Mexico, 1997.
Zapett Tapia, Adriana and Aguilar Cancino, Rubí, La introspeccón en el videoarte, Mexico, Abrevian Videos, Cenidiap, 2007.
Zapett Tapia, Adriana and Aguilar Cancino,Rubí, Videoarte en México, Cenidiap, INBA, Conaculta, 2014.