Peter Callas

Vibrant and dynamic, the video works of Australian artist Peter Callas are singular in form, technology and iconography. In tapes, installations and laserdisc works, Callas constructs extraordinary landscapes of animated signs and emblems. These vivid and witty pictorial tableaux portray the popular, historical and media images embedded within the construction of cultural identity and collective memory.

Callas' iconic, cartoon-like images, derived from the technological and popular cultures of Japan, Australia, and the United States, are reconfigured as an intricate, highly condensed visual language. Electronically re-drawn and layered, they collide in an associative "architectronics of meaning."

In 1985 Callas began working almost exclusively with computer graphics, particularly the Fairlight CVI, which he interfaced with digital effects and hand-drawn images and patterns to form his unique "multi-layered idea landscapes." Referencing cinema, TV and techno-pop culture, these colorful, graphic proliferations of images — set in rhythmic motion to equally propulsive soundtracks — are powerful visual texts. Depicting television as a stream of electronic fireworks, video as a psychological space, and technology as a dimensionless terrain, Callas transforms the contextual significance of popular signs to create a bold, ideogrammatic language from the icons of cultural representation.

Callas was born in 1952 in Sydney, Australia. He received a B.A. from the University of Sydney. The recipient of a grant from the Australian Film Commission and a fellowship from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council, he has taught at Sydney College of the Arts; City Art Institute, Sydney; and New South Wales Institute of Technology. During 1986 he was artist-in-residence at the video studio of Marui, one of the leading department stores in Tokyo, and in 1989 he was artist-in-residence at the Australian Studio of P.S.1 in New York. Callas' work has been exhibited internationally, at festivals and institutions including The Sydney Studio, Sydney; Osaka Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan; Sydney Biennale; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; The Berlin Film Festival; Bonn Videonale, Germany; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; and the World Wide Video Festival, The Hague. Callas lives in Sydney, Australia.